Get Yourself a Shovel

No, it's not snowing again! This time, we're digging up dirt in the backyard, like when we were kids dreaming of tunneling to China and landing upside down. Okay, so that's basically a stupid idea, but do you ever wonder if you tunneled through the Earth where you'd end up? No? Then why are you still reading this post? Who's the fool now, eh?

Anywho, thanks to the sweetness that is Google Maps, you can now find the answer without all that messy digging, a molten core, and generally unfeasible circumstances.

So exactly where must you start digging to end up in China? And why do I keep thinking of that crappy movie, The Core? LOL

And how can Hilary Swank go from Boys Don't Cry and Million Dollar Baby to the heap that was The Core? No matter - I forgive you, Hil. We're still like this (I say as I cross my fingers).

In Bed with the Feds

I was recently surprised and happy to read about part of the new energy bill penned with approval by our President's Herbie Hancock. The new energy bill will give even bigger tax incentives for purchasing hybrid vehicles starting in 2006!

The new tax credit will work differently from the current and past tax deductions, basically providing larger incentives for more efficient hybrids. It is great to see progress in a positive direction, especially since this can easily offset the higher initial cost of a hybrid vehicle.

Here's my little appreciation piece:

In bed with the Feds -
Now that's the government in action -
and on a holiday, at that.

This news even helped calm my frustration after reading about a recent brain-less-storm from the US Chamber of Commerce suggesting we TAX hybrid vehicle owners to fund highway maintenance! Mixed messages, anyone? Kramer would call this kooky talk! I say, tax those who jack up the highway...and it ain't the hybrids, I'm sure.


Dream a Little Dream of...Whuh?

I've come across a secret potion, loyal readers, that I wish to share with you. This potion gives me some bizarre and vivid dreams. And the magical potion is -- Bailey's Irish Cream! When I imbibe this libation close to my bed time, there's an increased chance of me having and remembering some heady dreams. For instance...

I had a Frisbee that I would fly on. When I threw it, I would jump on and it would allow me to soar through the air. I also remember flying over this suburban street lined with tall deciduous trees. I visited several places, one of which I think was a gas station in the country. I had my reasons, apparently.

Nothing totally out of whack, mind you, but still vivid and strange. It's not like I dreamt of being a paratrooper with an ice cream scooper landing into a river of chocolate and diving down to carve out some creamy goodness to make a delicious mudslide or anything...mmmm, mudslide.

Drink up, y'all, and sweet dreams!

Sleep Thinking

"Consciousness is only one way of thinking. It is fallible."

The vagueness of day hammered out
with a good night's sleep,
I thought over you in a dream -
nothing meaningless, mind you.
It was all metaphor and portent,
we walked down Freud's Royal Road,
my heart and mind racing one another,
electric passion, chemical attraction -
nothing I can sort out when
sunrise chases sunset.

How to explain, how do I approach or
broach the subject with you?
I will not stall, but leave this matter to
resolution in the calm disturbance
of unconscious wandering.

"Let me sleep on that."

Luck Would Have It...

So I'm a total goon for off-beat research, and Dr. Richard Wiseman is manufacturing my drug of choice with his Luck Project. I'm reading his book entitled "The Luck Factor" which basically states that luck is derived from's not just random chance or fate. How can he say such a thing? Cuz he's studied it in many different ways!

The book is a bit homogenized for the mass audiences, true. And some of his data comes from small sample sizes and anecdotes, but think about it...luck is like creativity. You know it when you see it. You don't need to always quantify it or parse through it to it's smallest denominator.

I love this stuff. I'm reading this book today and, this is just like Albert Bandura's Reciprocal Determinism. Bandura is a living genius of psychology who theorizes that people's social behavior are comprised of our thoughts, behaviors, and the enviornment. All of these aspects influence one another. If I'm going to a party and think it will be awesome, those thoughts will likely cause me to be more social and seek fun. If I'm more fun and social, people will want to hang out with me. The enviornment then reinforces my thoughts of how great this party is which makes me party harder. All the aspects drive our personality. Wonderful stuff!

So how does this link up to the book of luck? To paraphrase, Wiseman states that people who tend to be lucky are more extroverted, open to new experiences, exude social magnetism, and maximize chance opportunities around them. There's so much more to this, but think about it. To an extent, we can train ourselves to be more lucky in life! It's all about our thoughts, our behaviors, and how we seek out cues from our environment.

In other words, attitude is key. Like many things, we have the power to control some of the luck that happens to us. I like that idea.

What implications do I foresee? Why, thanks for asking me, me. I could see how this impacts parenting and education. It would be refreshing to breathe change into the stale curriculum of our nation's schools. Just look at the statistics on time spent learning vocational skills, how many students report school as boring, and money spent on education. The data is telling. Recalling my education, we spent little, if any, time learning about learning styles and what fit each of us. The value of life skills is as critical as formal knowledge. I spend many years relearning the same information. Wouldn't it have been great to learn about my interests actively? Explore the world outside instead of from a classroom?

My suggestion is this -- it's important what we tell children and how we interact with them, be it in matters of luck, self-confidence, math equations, or literacy. I always say it's not what you do but how you do it. As parents and educators, I envision a world where we encourage children to be active agents and conscious explorers. It's not an easy shift, but the good ones rarely are.

Random Thinks...

When I'm with you,
I am a little boy
who stands in front of the TV
and laughs uncontrollably
at Saturday morning cartoons
in my pajamas --
Carefree, unfettered,
good to be alive.

Dolphins Reclaim Their Sanity

So I read some intriguing news today that brought back a sad reminder. It was about scientists exploring the epicenter of the earthquake in the Indian Ocean that led to the devastating tsunami earlier this year. Basically, they found the area has not yet been reinhabited by sea life. Reasons unknown.

This caused me to hunt down an old piece of writing I had done. I figured I'd share it. It's a work in indefinite progress, so don't hold anything against me -- Art is not completed; it's abandoned : )

Dolphins Reclaim Their Sanity

In my search for you
I was swallowed by the ocean,
digested in the salty undertow.
Currently the currents pull me down
unto the rusted hulls and sunken explorers
who never rediscovered the warmth of home.
Drifting along the tongue of the ocean bed,
the abyss closes in on my senses
as I fall deeper into submission,
my final breath calls to you
like a rally cry of freedom,
descending upon the ramparts of Atlantis
on a horse without legs.

It's all about location...

So I was at a neighborhood bookstore once upon a time while having a conversation with a friend about dating. We came upon the topic of making out in a bookstore. Yeah, don't ask. When you are single, well, you'll think up just about anything to imagine yourself with someone.

Whelp, I started to wonder...what's the best section in a bookstore to make out in? If you must premeditate such an action, it should be done with empirical care.

This is what I came up with...

Science Fiction -- too creepy
Romance -- too cliche
Humor -- that's awkward
Parenting -- foreshadow!
Self-help -- too needy
Horror -- it's been well established that sex + horror = imminent death
Fantasy -- gosh, already?
Mystery -- shows lack of confidence

I'm sure I missed a few. But I just now (quite literally, within the last minute) had my "eureka" moment. The best location in a bookstore for a make-out session is...

New "Releases"

Ahhh, don't give me that look. You laughed.

Since there's no place to go...

...Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!!

We received about 4-6 inches of what Ben calls "precious snow" and it's lovely. Adva calls it "friendly snow" because it came down in fat wet flakes and has a fluffy, easy to enjoy quality. And here I thought the Inuit had many words to describe kinds of snow.

I actually didn't mind shoveling the driveway...strange, that. I'm sure Mom's loving to read that given all the grumbling I made when I have to shovel hers. "Sorry, Ma!"

The house, just sitting there chillin.

When I took this picture, there was that serene stillness in the air. The quiet woosh of the air and the delicate crunch of snow touching down was beautiful to hear. Why is it so calm when it snows like this?

My street, being all snowy.

Tyler glided through the snow like it ain't nothin but a thang. After safely delivering Adva home, he blasted through my then unshoveled driveway and sought the warmer refuge of the garage. His parking spot awaited him.

Tyler in his crib.

I love me some Midwestern-style winter storms. Peace, y'all.

Pirates on Golf?

Okay, so I've often wondered why so many miniature golf complexes have pirate themes. Haven't you? Time and again, I see "Pirate's Cove" or "Parrot Bay" (er, that's booze, but then pirates did drink grog, so there you have it) or "Buccaneer Island" and on and on...

There's always the mandatory waterfall, cave, wrecked ship, and of course, stagnant water that attracts mosquitoes. Does the possibility of malaria make the experience more authentic?

So my question is, what the huh? I don't remember history classes on the Barbary Coast going down like this:

"Island, ho! Scoot the booty, ye old scallywags! Bring er in to starboard and anchors aweigh! First we pillage, then we plunder. Then we break out our clubs for 18 holes of putting pleasure! Cap'n calls dibs on the red ball!"

"Arrrrr!" is heard all around from the crew.

Perhaps it was a way to get back their land legs, by laying out yards of green felt and planting flags. Maybe the putter evolved from the peg leg.

Must be one of those historical accounts lost to the ages...

Wacky Wikipedia

So I'm addicted to Wikipedia recently, as some of you know. I love this online "dictionary" because it provides cultural references, links to information, and can be edited by anyone (with some recently tightened "security"). That's right, you and I and the kid next door can log onto this service, go to the section on Dave Matthews Band and type in "Dave sucks!" By the way, don't you dare!

So what's to keep the creeps, politicos, juveniles, and vandals from volleying slanderous trash at their victims? Well, very little, it appears. Take into account what happened to this guy.

Forgive me for editorializing because I don't do it often or well. But I have two issues I want to discuss on this topic. And for those of you too darned lazy to read about said dude above, basically he's ticked because his Wikipedia entry had implicated him in the President Kennedy assassination. He states the information is false and that there was historical text on the website that labeled him as a Nazi and other graphic adjectives. When I went to check the history on Wikipedia, as any good little faux-journalist would do, it appears the erroneous information has been deleted and due to vandalism, all entries on this thread are locked down. So I ended my junket then and there. Hey, at least I did that much, it's not like I'm working for CNN over hurr!

My first issue is: responsibility. I believe Wikipedia, as an established website and central storehouse of information, has due diligence to monitor and track posters for this very reason - vandalism and slander. However, the reader must also be cognizant of its sources. Too often on the web, folks take legitimacy at face value and do not question the source of information. Would I use this website to find out fun facts about a movie or the world's ugliest dog (may he rest in peace)? Sure. Would I use it for any kind of research for work or school? No'sir, not without additional sources to back up my biz. It comes back to educating folks on critical thinking and in a sense, stepping up to their due diligence as a researcher, student, employee, or citizen when it comes to gathering facts and data. This is a growing concern for those of us who teach high school and college students. But that's a whole other topic...

Second and last issue: opportunity. There is a remarkable opportunity in this kind of contributive web resource. No longer is the consumer bound only by what the producer decides to create and publish. The internet has broadening from a one-way model (i.e., I will shop online, read this news article, download music) to include a dynamic model where the lines of consumer and producer blur (i.e., blogs, consumer reviews on Amazon, or online parallels to the exquisite corpse). This is both exciting and a cause for hesitation. This emerging model is founded on trust; trust that people will post responsibly or that people are motivated to correct any erroneous information the vandal creates. Only the passage of time will reveal whether that trust has been misplaced or as a whole, we can overcome the mob mentality and surprise ourselves.

How can you look at this world evolving around us and not think "Wow, how lovely to be here for a while?"

- For more on this idea of trust in the masses, check out The Wisdom of Crowds

- Star Wars fans should visit Wookiepedia, LOL

The Discloser

This post came from a brainstorm I had after an encounter with a mere acquaintance at best, who felt it necessary to fill me in on his ENTIRE life at a bowling alley.


This discreet villain has affiliation issues. With disregard to reciprocity, The Discloser will divulge intimate and daily information in excruciating detail. No minutae is spared. Be warned! Checking your watch, siddling toward the door, trite responses and clearly displayed boredom will not neutralize this dastardly foe. Consider The Discloser heavily chatty and oblivious to blatant social cues.

- Inability to sense human suffering from their prey
- Voluminous repetoire of stories to share
- Friendly demeanor

- being ridiculed or ignored
- susceptible to criticism

You can survive The Discloser by letting the fire burn itself out. While seemingly tireless, The Discloser will eventually shut up or need to leave and accumulate more pointless anecdotes for future victims. If a hasty escape is required, deny The Discloser any expected attention or present The Discloser with negative attention. Either strategy will cause The Discloser to fold but may be ineffective against the most clueless of its ilk.
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Once upon a time, I briefly "dated" a guy whose real identity will be concealed. Let's call him Ted. It became readily apparent to me that Ted was a very dependent person. Admittedly, I am an independent person by nature and nuture, but I do feel that a healthy amount of dependence is a positive thing. His approach, I fear, was more like static cling. I realized that this guy was unknowingly in search of a kind of panacea. A panacea was highly sought after by Medieval alchemists as a cure for all ills. A serum for long life, in a sense. Being the crafty wordsmith I claim to be, I made the connection that Ted was in search of his own kind of panacea. It was a manacea. So that was the back story of this piece.

Man-a-ce-a (man-UH-SEE-uh). n. 1. Cure for all sexual ills. 2. Warm body.

Cuddling in your bed,
he was your climate control,
your terry cloth mother,
the logical conclusion to your emotional wreck.
Like the safety of an airbag
inside a crushed-in hull,
collapsing upon you with
the feeling of touch.

Fortunately, I didn't take it the wrong way.


Here's my first post ever on These Are Me Thinks! Looking back at something I wrote in early October, it reminded me of the earthy smell of autumn and the beautiful leaves in transition.

I mistook a leaf for a butterfly

fluttering toward me.
Beckoning, the tree invited me
to witness the sky falling
toward winter.