Thursday, June 29, 2006

the Demon Trap

There is a blogger demon in my computer. Three times, I tell you, three times, I have put heart and soul into starting a new post. Thought we had milked all out of Da Vinci we could. And I wrote a piece to the very end. Checking deftly for typos and errors. Finally satisfied, the blogger demon reared its ugly head and ate my blog before I could publish it. Gone. Disappeared. Not to be found in the deepest bowels of the computer. I shook it. I tried to trick it. I swore at it. I pleaded with it. Nothing. Nil. Blank. That demon is tricky like my cat. Cannot be found if it doesn’t want to be found. Many times I cannot find my cat. Even though I am convinced that I know all her hiding places. Even though I search all of them and more. even though I call her, try to lure her with food, the cat is somehow spirited away. And when I least expect it she will suddenly sit in front of me with dreamy eyes, like a little Buddha, innocent, alluring, pointing at her dish and making me feel guilty that it is empty. Nah, that last part isn’t true. But hey there is always fiction in truth and truth in fiction. Right? But you know, the demon never shows himself. Is it a male demon? Of course it is! Why? Never mind. I have decided. The demon is forever evasive. Cannot be seen. Like the face of God. According to Jewish scripture and C.S. Lewis. The demon is the scary, negative side of computer technology. Computers, I always emphasize, have me in total awe on one side, and scare the hell out of me another way. This electronic technology holds heaven and hell in its bowels. Makes me happy often, and makes me swear at it probably more times. Gets out the demon in me. That’s what demons do, right? In dreams, they say, when you face your demons, they fade away. That has worked for me. But my computer is not a dream. And there is a demon in my computer. HELP !!! Maybe I should make it fun and design a “Name The Demon” contest. There is a theory, I think from the fox in “The Little Prince”, that when you name things you tame them. What do you do with a tame demon? Same things as you do with a drunken sailor?

Ha! I did it. I wrote it in the Word program and copied and pasted it. See if it goes through now.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Da Vinci Code...

When I travel, I like to put Tuesdays aside to watch a movie. Why not? CSI is still two nights away, and the buzz I get from mowing the lawn on Sunday has worn off, leaving me feeling empty and angry inside. Movies fix that.

Pushing my atheism aside, I decided to stretch my mind and consider a film that put into question all I knew about the last two thousand years of history and religion. Unfortunately, Cars was sold out so I bought a ticket for The DaVinci Code instead.

The film was good. Not great, but good enough that I only thought of McRib eight times. During the normal course of the two or three hours this film ran, I would have thought of McRib as many as thirty-two times. This film held me. In fact, I was only consumed by McRib Compulsive Disorder once during the movie, at which time I left the theatre, drove to McDonalds, and was reminded that McRib has not been on the menu for many years. I drove back to the theatre but I think I was out when they were talking about religion or something, so I felt lost for quite awhile.

By the end of the film, I was filled with such hope and awe that, within forty minutes, I had given some of my money to a stripper named Mary. Or Lexus. She was speaking French, so I’m not sure what she was saying.

Everyone should see this movie.

- Art Lane

Friday, June 09, 2006

Five Years old & Fifty Years old.

When I was five, I played in sand with dump trucks.

At fifty, I'm playing in sand with dump trucks.

The difference is...

I spend more time playing with dump trucks now than when I was five.

This top shot is the job site a few days ago.

The bottom shot is an artist's rendition of what we hope it may look like.

This is where my is mind is at least 45 hours a week.

When I was five had less time for construction.


Monday, June 05, 2006

Oh, That Henry Miller!

When and where does creation cease? And what can a mere writer create that has not already been created? Nothing. The writer rearranges the gray matter in his noodle. He makes a beginning and an end -- the very opposite of creation! -- and in between, where he shuffles around, or more properly is shuffled around, there is born the imitation of reality: a book. Some books have altered the face of the world. Rearrangement, nothing more. The problems of life remain. A face may be lifted, but one's age is indelible. Books have no effect. Authors have no effect. The effect was given in the first Cause. Where wert thou when I created the world? Answer that and you have solved the riddle of creation!

We write, knowing we are licked before we start. Every day we beg for fresh torment. The more we itch and scratch the better we feel. And when our readers also begin to itch and scratch we feel sublime. Let no one die of inanition! The airs must ever swarm with arrows of thought delivered by les hommes de lettres.
From: Nexus, Chapter 16

There's more. He was just gettin' on a roll. Larry sez: Read It! Look at that face. Sculptured, like some Mongol (as he says) in disguise. Look at that lantern jaw. Dick Tracy stands in awe. How could you not read it?

For those of you who don't know, aside from all the sexual folderol, Miller's novels Sexus, Plexus, and Nexus are really about his struggle to be a writer (and his crazy life with Anais Nin, called Mona in the books.)

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Three A's

I have a fascination with such conditions as Autism, Asperger’s and Alzheimer’s.

I have thoughts about autism, which may be completely inaccurate. I once was a swimming instructor and for whatever reason I had a knack for teaching children with special needs. My experience in the water didn’t match up with my research on autism. Perhaps it was the water environment and that stimulus that put my experience and my reading at odds. I suspect the children I had in my classes were all high functional.

I learned from them. They required a calm and a gentle approach and not the general excited activity of an average swim class. I could feel the tension in their bodies when and activity became too much for them. Also the children I taught were verbal. At first their remarks seemed completely out of place to our activity. As I gained experience I realized their remarks were an attempt in establishing an order to the feelings and stimulus of the lesson.

The indoor pool environment is all wrong for a child with autism. I could easily design a pool that would accommodate their needs. Of course that pool will never be built because who would spend the money on a accommodating those needs. Pools are very well lit, have poor acoustics (echo), and busy. If I designed a pool it would use only underwater lamps, I would line the walls, ceiling, and floors with materials that would absorb sound. The only voice I want the child to hear is mine. Of course I never had that environment to work in.

The world seemed too big for the children I taught. If I could make the world appeared to be smaller then there was an opportunity to learn. If I managed that then teaching them to swim was easy.

In hindsight now, I believe these children had Asperger’s Syndrome. I only became aware of Aspergers 15 years ago. I never experienced an absence of emotion from these children rather the children demonstrated stronger emotions than most. The stimuli of the world were overwhelming, reduce the stimuli to these high function children and they are no different than anybody else. The absense of emotion comes when an over stimulated child shuts down. Frrustration was often predominant, which I prefferred to the child that just turns off completely.

What does Alzheimer’s have to do with this? Nothing really. Just another interest of mine. Used to be the only conclusive diagnostics of Alzheimer’s was an autopsy. That is no longer true. We have ways to take pictures of the brain now. There is a build up a protein plaque in the brain that reduces the function of receiving and sending messages along the neural net. There are ways to reduce this plaque, which will slow down the process of Alzheimer’s. It is no cure and we have yet to discover the cause.