Monday, December 14, 2009

The Base Layer

They moved like hundreds of white flies
hovering in the air above the frozen ground
Afraid to land because it was so cold.

Each snowflake in turn,
brittle and light,
would gradually descend until it met the pavement
suddenly exploding into a thousand pieces
becoming fragmented clouds
of crystalline dust

Friday, December 4, 2009

My Memory for Names

The part of your brain that saves and retrieves information is called the hippocampus. It turns out that memories are formed in connection to other memories, and are stronger if there is something to associate with them. (The strongest memories are formed when there is an emotion attached to them).
So why does my brain have such trouble with names? Is it because I'm not associating them with an emotion, or is there some rationale for the way it's working?
For me, the priority seems to be:
Boys name or Girls name
Number of Letters
Number of Syllables
Specific letters in the name
and then I lose track of what my brain's doing from there. So if I were to build a catalog of names to make it easier to recall one, I would start from there.

Girl>4 letters>Two syllables>ends in a vowel
Tara, Sara, Olga, Lisa, Tina, Gina, Emma, Kara,
closely associated with
Amy, Stacy, Lacy, etc.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Search Engine Syntax

All pervasive, at least on the internet, the Search Engine has begun shaping the way we think. Search engines are special websites that act like indexes for the world wide web, and the first place most people go when looking for information on a specific topic. But does this mean that they're shaping our thinking?

To get what you're looking for with a search engine, it helps to have the end in mind. If you're looking for a list of famous baseball players, type in "'Babe Ruth' 'Hank Aaron' 'Joe Dimaggio' and 'famous baseball players' list". It's bound to give you at least those three, and is probably much closer to the result you wanted in the first place. And this is only one way that our thinking has to adjust to communicate with machines.

In his Atlantic Monthly article "Is Google Making Us Stupid", Nicholas Carr describes several ways that the internet affects our thinking. There is a chance that repeated interfacing with 'Google', trying to get an answer, creates neural pathways specific to that search-engine. The amount of available information, alone, makes us dependent on a search engine to filter through it for us.

Having the ability to use Google isn't the end-all-be-all of operating on the internet. A majority of web content is inaccessible by Google. The ability to adapt to new ways of thinking is enhanced by using that ability, and NOT falling into a comfortable routine of reading. One research summary points out that we're developing parallel thinking skills and perhaps losing our talent for sequential thinking skills.

On the other hand, McLuhan's book "The Medium is the Massage" (1967) points out that sequential thinking is due to sequential writing, and that the parallel www makes us think verbally again. (Here's a really annoying video that summarizes much of that book.) The change is happening, and it will affect us.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

20 year Rule

Why does Hollywood and pop culture seem to revolve on a 20 year cycle? I saw 1970's fashion try a comeback in the '90's, the show "I ♥ the 80's" hit starting in 2002, and now the V miniseries has me thinking about the original V miniseries. It's as if there's a holding pattern for our culture's growth. People try selling us our nostalgic feelings, and we buy them.

I suppose there's another angle here. The makers of pop culture are people, just like the rest of us. They are packaging their own nostalgic feelings. "Oh, remember that show I liked when I was a kid? Why don't we do something like that?. . ." So what if it's not new? The general population will buy it because it's familiar. It's no wonder "It takes any really new idea about 20 years to reach the public." Chuck Wagner, HHS Teacher.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Early Morning

This post is on the need for productive industry in the Spokane area, as there are to be several unemployed or under-employed individuals this coming winter.

My idea--and this isn't entirely original--was to have a pottery center for the homeless, where they would be able to come and get some work when they wanted it...all sorts of problems there.

Maybe if it were something people needed--like pens, or, wait.

Monday, August 10, 2009

I wiggle as I walk through life.

I might be ADD, or bipolar, or some other undiagnosed disorder. I say disorder because I find it hard to keep my life in order, like other people I see.

I have lots of stuff organized into disorganized piles around the room. If there is a project I want to do, I can get it done if I work on it for less than 3 days, because after 3 days my initial creativity has changed shape, and is unwilling to
follow through. If I organize/structure my initial project to accommodate a longer time investment, I still may fall "out of love" with the idea and want to scrap it and start over...or quit.How can I succeed for myself? Just set attainable goals, or else change how I view success. (my Grandpa Benson--'You've gotta invent something, and keep your body strong as well as your mind'; Lee Ayars- 'become a famous potter/ceramicist') I see success as an intermittent reward for creative productivity, which is why I'm always making stuff and showing it to people...or the instantaneous gratification of their response. But lately I've seen my success-seeking taking on a more difficult edge: Long-term success that can pay the bills and "achieve" something lasting or monumental.
I wiggle as I walk through life, kind of making this path which has lots of (emotional and destinational) backtracking and doesn't get much beyond my self.

This path, I think, would have been more deliberate and I would
have gone further with less confusion.

One side note here.
My goal hasn't always been personal success in the capacity it has taken as of late. It has often been to strengthen others to their goals and my path has, in combination with other paths, looked something like this for which I am proud.

Q: How do you assess if a goal is worthwhile? Beyond $in < $out. I ask this towards sustainability, to a purpose over time. It could even help others get to the promised land you see but will probably not enter. Hmm. I sense a long term commitment coming on...

Thursday, July 16, 2009



Saturday, July 4, 2009

Goal in Art

We take in the world and store it symbolically
in our heads. Creating art allows other people
to see the world we see, or how we see it.
It's a very exposing process.
Unfortunately, once the artwork is created
the interpretation is entirely up to the receiver.

My current thought is that the goal in making art is
to create "archetypal" images that register
as pure tones in the symbolic visual brain
and that deliver meaning more directly,
allowing the sender and the receiver
to resonate more strongly.

Need to find a message worth sending.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Anchor Poem

My leaping stone
I cling to you for strength and self assurance
Tether myself around the waist, the other end around you
like some umbilicus
Gather confidence and leap off into the deep wet unknown
Struggling bravely through whatever learning experience I'm in
And pull myself back onto you to recharge.

Is it bravery, stupid stubbornness, or some innate desire driving me
to loosen my tether and drift away
through uncertain abyss--to strike out on my own--?
Beyond that which I knew are familiar seeming shadows
Recognizable but not actually comforting
Ghostly forms and reedy delights, but really I miss having
Stable earth and stone and grass under my feet.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


How do cells communicate
within YOUR body?
How do they know
(maintain a movement about)
Do they resonate?

If this is electromagnetic
(resonance) or some other
isn't it possible
(likely) that I
in the room with you
vibrate from THAT
resonance too?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Really Creepy

A heaping plate of sloppery noodles
(surrounded on sides by channels
of buttery good redness,
relaxes under its overburden
of saucy spiced pork meatballs)
Whispers your name
and gently massages your olfactory nerves.
Eat me...
Eat me...
Eat me...

Monday, May 11, 2009



Caught a ferret
to be my pet
and live in MY room
and I'll have to keep her
in a cage and keep my
door shut so she can't
escape and get out and
get back to the wild
to her home and family
and friends and maybe children
baby ferrets who need
her to take care of 'em
and...oh look. Sigh.
She got out.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Montessori Training Wheels

I'm looking into MONTESSORI training because I think that PLAY and EXPLORATION have been take away from the curriculum, and that children should be self motivated in their learning. I'm going to start posting my findings about Montessori here.

Here are a few sites that I'm looking through.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Copy Degradation in Religion

In history, it seems that there have been movements to bring religion back to its origins... especially when there is written record, like the Bible, or Koran.

As a religion progresses through time, there is less direct connection with the 'written word'. Someone claims to 'have it' so people follow that person. This is where personal feelings are introduced, and rather than seeking the source, the 'second generation' incorporates the teachings of their [person in touch with God], making an internal 'copy' of the religion.

How many generations (copies of copies) can there be? The thought occurs that someone must have become aware of this degradation, and decided to seek the Source. Thus a revival.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Perspective Transformation

Personal Transformation
(by Jack Mezirow, 1991)

1) a disorienting dilemma;

2) self examination;

3) a critical assessment of internalized role assumptions and a sense of alienation from traditional expectations;

4) relating one's own discontent to similar experiences of others;

5) exploring new ways of acting;

6) building competence and confidence in new roles;

7) planning a course of action;

8) acquiring knowledge and skills for implementing one's plan;

9) provisional efforts to try new roles; and

10) a reintegration into society on the basis of conditions dictated by the new perspective.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Rolling Poem

Invention: Rolling Poem
Purpose: To reduce the amount of space taken up by poetry.

The rolling poem is a new method of poem-writing. Simply take a word, connect it in a loop, and roll it along the floor.
The tracks left behind are often gibberish, but on very special occasions can become POETRY!

Here's an example of how it works:

Rolling Poem

When you connect the word EARTH in a loop and roll it you get:

However, with some creative spacing and Carriage Returns this sequence of letters becomes:


Try it with other words, like STONE or ARE.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Jonathan Coulton hang in there!

A minor celebrity named Jonathan Coulton just got interviewed. In the interview he described what it is like being both a fan and a celebrity-- that there is a welcoming in of 'kind' or just because of sameness.

(this is highly edited to take out repetitions and "y'knows")

JoCo: One of the strangest things that has taken a lot of adjusting for me is my increased access to famous people. And this is a weird ancillary benefit to becoming a semi-famous person, is that you, for whatever reason, are sort of in the club.
And it's much easier--I don't know if it's an internal thing--it's just easier for me to approach people, or if it's something in the way I carry myself--but I--*laughing* they recognize me as part of the tribe.
But I've had contact with a number of people that I have been a huge fan of and the contact is not like I get their autograph, it's like we hang out and talk. Y'know? It's really weird.

Q: Any names you want to drop?

JoCo: Yeah, well, I most, the most recent one was is Adam Savage from MythBusters.

Q: Even the Stuff with Neil Gaiman has got to be really strange.

JoCo: Yeah, that's another one. Like Neil Gaiman. Like I--I--*laughs*-- I had drink's with Neil Gaiman...that's crazy! Why do I get to have drinks with Neil Gaiman?

Q: It is kind of funny.

JoCo: Yeah. But it's great. I mean it's--it's fantastic. Because I am a fan of famous people I recognize what happens when people come up to me after a show or at PAX or on the street --wherever. You feel like you've come to know this person because you've consumed their work--you've listened to their music or you've seen them on television or you've read their books or whatever--and you kind of feel like it's kind of a one way relationship at that point, but you really have this desire to make it a two way relationship. I don't mean in a gross way but you want to connect with that person the same way they have maybe even unknowingly connected with you. And unfortunately in an autograph line it's not always possible to make that kind of connection, and so when I get to meet Neil Gaiman because Neil Gaiman happens to have come across some of my stuff and liked it--we have this dorky appreciation moment and then we just talk. And we do get to have the time and the comfort zones that let us just relate to each other as people, and that's totally thrilling.

Our society has tiers with commonfolk (the layer I like to lump everybody in) making up the bulk of it. But the human mind can't stand chaos. It likes to categorize, organize, and find patterns. Within the crowd certain people get named 'leader' or 'unique' in some way. If enough people recognize him/her then I imagine that person is elevated to a higher social status (based on notoriety). And this level is where Jonathan Coulton was when I (actually) got to talk with him in April.

However, there is another social structure at work in our culture, financial wealth. Financial wealth has all sorts of consequences, not the least of which is it's affect on a person's social network. Typically money is associated with things/stuff. The more expensive 'things' a person has, the more money that person has (qed). The highest ranking money level can also afford to have a social 'insulation' layer. Bodyguards, fancy airs, even the stuff: expensive fabrics kept clean saying 'keep your distance'.

People will mimic the wealthy to affect importance. Common people like me go out of their way to buy fancy clothes. "Bling" fashion is one example of this.
Business executives generally have receptionists, if not layers of very tall buildings to socially isolate (and thereby elevate) themselves. Even our country's president has an entourage of bodyguards at all times, both a safety issue and an obvious social pedestal. For the most part people are considerate enough: Fancy clothes, airs, bodyguards? Leave them alone.

And here's where my concern lies: JoCo's fame comes partly from his being approachable. You can drop him a line on the internet and chances are he will read it. However, what if JoCo's fame grows? He won't be able to interface on a direct level anymore. He might eventually have to hire someone to read the e-mails for him,, and choose which ones get through based on merit! This is the level of fame at which you have to know someone to get in. I'm a little worried that if Coulton reaches this level that I may never get to go see him again. His agent will raise ticket prices, and too many other people will want to go, and the fame will carry him away from the reality he knows with only money and his ever diminishing social circle to hang onto...GYAHHH!

Perhaps, however, I am underestimating Jonathan Coulton. Perhaps he got to this level of fame a long time ago, and instead of getting swept away in it, somehow deflected it and remained grounded, recognizing his constituents' need for the illusion of being connected, and using the principle of intermittent rewards so as not to burn himself out on too many commitments.

Monday, February 2, 2009


Beware! The Ninjas are everywhere!

I have put together a comprehensive list of sites giving what glimpse we have into the world of ninjas.

Ninja Ropes
Ask a Ninja
Xiao Xiao

That's it. Kind of mysterious, ninja...