Archive for February, 2009

What I learned today

February 11, 2009

1. I learned today that foveal vision is the kind of vision we use to see details. It is the smarter though less laid-back sibling to peripheral vision, which only cares about the big picture and helping you duck from objects thrown at your head.

The freaky part of foveal vision is that it is only as large as double the width of your thumbnail held at arm’s length. That is not much room for detail, is it? All day I have been testing it out and taking no satisfaction in my newfound limitations.

2. I learned today from author Elizabeth Gilbert that geniuses were once believed to be creatures or beings that supplied people with their creativity and insights. Nobody was a genius, rather they had a genius. She says that this was a healthier way of looking at creativity – artists, writers and painters could only take partial credit for their successes or failures. Instead of like today, when artists too often end up shooting themselves in the head.

She also says that she sometimes does not know where her ideas come from, and has talked to other artists who say the same thing. She’s writing a book about it, about poets who say that sometimes writing is like taking dictation, or Tom Waits who when driving his car on the freeway told the unknown source of a new song, “Can’t you see I’m driving?”

3. I like these eyes that do not see what we think they see, and minds that do not know what we think they know. It keeps life interesting, doesn’t it?

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Spit = love

February 4, 2009

A moment ago I was taking my son in his stroller to daycare, and when we got just outside the playground I held out my hand and said, “OK, now give me your gum.” Don’t worry, it’s the good kind of gum, not the kind that gives you cancer (according to my younger health-conscious sister there are two varieties of sugar-free gum: xylitol – no cancer, the other stuff – cancer). So he leans forward and spits out the gum into my hand, then there is a fraction of a second pause that gives my brain enough time to think, “Huh, what is going to happen now?”

What happened is that he spit out whatever saliva he had in his mouth into my hand on top of the gum. I could tell he was trying to be helpful and follow instructions. For him, the sentence “OK, now give me your gum” means, “Please empty your mouth of all its contents into my hand.” Which, by the way, is a very useful sentence to know, particularly at your dinner parties when you forget to buy dessert but want to wrap things up anyway.

Standing outside the preschool this morning, though, I thought that there are worse things that could happen than having my hand filled with the warm spit of my son. Still, I think it is time I teach him that spit is not only a verb, but also a noun.

How to wreck your brain in five easy steps

February 1, 2009

People often assume that wrecking their brains will take quite a lot of effort on their part. This is not true at all, and in fact you can wreck your brain with all kinds of things you can find right around your house. Today I am going to teach you one of those methods.

Step 1: Drink a cup of coffee.
What you are doing: Ingesting delicious poison.

Step 2:
Think, well, that one just made me normal, I don’t even feel the caffeine. One more will put me where I need to be.
What you are doing: Deceiving your brain.

Step 3: Drink another cup of coffee, then another cup of coffee, then another cup of coffee, and another cup of coffee.
What you are doing: Drowning your brain in caffeine before it can realize what your mouth and stomach are doing.

Step 4: Think, wow, my brain is totally wrecked.
What you are doing: Sending yourself positive messages of reinforcement that embrace the now and nowedness of your brain-wreckedness.

Step 5: Write a blog entry about it, in the hopes that it will prove to you that your brain is really not wrecked, that it is actually working in top form, but realize no, it is really wrecked.
What you are doing: You’re not really sure at this point what you are doing, which is always an ideal state in which to present yourself to the world.

Step 6 (only for those in advanced stages of brain-wreckedness): Spend a lot of time staring at the flame in the free lotus flower candle holder that you got for free today by buying two Blue Dragon  products (coconut milk and egg noodles). Consider writing a blog entry about the candle holder. Repeat Step 4.