Vesuvius on Xanax

vesuvius.jpgI was thinking about The Matrix movies this morning. The whole mystical woo-hoo surrounding them annoyed me, because I wanted only special effects and explosions. Hey, sue me, I’m a guy.

But The Matrix came to mind because I was mainly thinking about the … deepness … of us. The unseen part. The motive force.

Okay, stop right there. Whatever you’re thinking – spirituality, or oversouls, or thetans or whatever – that’s absolutely not what I’m thinking.

I’m considering us in a totally non-mystical way, thinking about all the stuff we could be doing but aren’t. The capacities we have but don’t display. The full range of our personal capabilities which most of us never explore.

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Honoring the Sense of Loss

ranger.jpgI looked at my calendar today and noticed an anniversary coming up next Tuesday. January 29, 1998 – ten years to the day Ranger died.

Ranger the Valiant Warrior, my German shepherd pal of 12 years and a bit. Puppy who slept on my bed, big bony boy who played fetch and tug and chase, magnificent friend whose companionship I wore like a second skin for more than a decade. He rode with me in my truck, went on hikes with me, waited avidly outside whatever building I was inside, left the house and came into town looking for me whenever I was away too long.

Ten years gone.

I’m over it. Sure. The misty eyes brought about by noticing that date on the calendar are just silly. I mean, who pines over a DOG??

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Day 4 – Too Much Hank: Invincible Spring


Whew! Sure was a lot of gravity last night. I think it may have gusted up to 1.5 Gs or so.

I felt heavy, anyway. Coming out of my newspaper office last night, I noticed how tired I was, and how “compressed” I felt. For a moment as I thought about it, it really did feel like I was carrying a 45-pound backpack.

Yet I woke up this morning thinking how good I felt.

Which is a topic all its own: I should tell you I have this weird ability to maintain tension even when I’m sleeping. I developed it over the course of years, I think mainly because I read in bed at night. When I was younger, I’d fall asleep and drop the book, but over the years this came to happen less and less, until finally I’d wake up hours later still holding the book in position for reading. My subconscious had learned gradually to hold the book in place without dropping it. The ability generalized to my whole body eventually, so that if I went to bed clenched up from the day, I’d maintain the tension all night long and wake up the same way.

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Picky Eaters


In full diet/exercise “get back in shape” mode, food is ever on my mind. A fellow blogger writing recently about a picky eater in the family sparked this:

I remember how EASY life got after I just started trying all the new foods I was presented with. And damn! Some of them – sushi!! – were GOOD!

I have friends back in Texas who have never had sushi and never will – you couldn’t get them in the same room with it – and darned if that isn’t a tragic loss for them. If I was 12 years old and you presented me with a foot-high chocolate sundae with a gallon of whipped cream and a pound of walnut sprinkles, I couldn’t love it any more than I love sushi. This weird-looking, conceptually freaky – OH MY GOD IT’S RAW FISH!!! – stuff is food so great poor people like me shouldn’t be allowed to have it.

And I never would have known it if I hadn’t tried it.

For me, there was a pivotal moment in trying new things, and it actually came in reading about a dog’s sense of smell.

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Thank you, Miss King

I had a geometry teacher in high school in about 1968 or so, a certain Miss King, one of those rare teachers you have who leaves a permanent mark.

This was the mark she left:

Sometimes, there is only one right answer.

I was pretty good in school, producing a decade or so of straight A’s without much trouble, but even I occasionally got the wrong answer. Mixed in with the lessons I absorbed for most of those years, though, was the lesson of “partial credit.” If the answer to a test question was “hydrocarbons” but you put down “carbohydrates,” you could usually wheedle at least half credit. Considering the infinite number of possible answers that would include neither “hydro” nor “carbo,” lots of times the teachers would give you more than half credit, sometimes as much as 80 percent. Because you almost got it right.

The lesson, that pretty close is often good enough, certainly affected our aim. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one caught up eventually in providing answers that were only good enough.

But in life, even in the safe, rich life so many of us enjoy in the West … 

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