Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Not Back Yet...

...but in the meantime, here's something to read.

"Phantoms in the Brain" by V.S. Ramachandran, M.D., PH.D.

I picked this book up at the bookstore, read the back and knew I had to have it. It's hard to explain exactly what it's about, but I'll try.

I thought we (meaning science, society, etc.) knew quite a bit about the human brain and how it works. Turns out, we know pretty much nothing. Back in 1998, when I had my very first panic attack - and doctors told me they couldn't tell me why - I just figured I was insane. In 1995, I was finally put on a series of pills, because "there's no test for what you have, we just have to experiment." I was lucky. My experiments led to a solution. Even through all of that, I still thought we pretty much knew what we could about the human brain.


This book discusses neuroscience in a way that I can TOTALLY understand. It's dumbed down to the masses, rather than being taylored to the doctors and superbright people in this world. Poor Mr. Zoom has to endure my excited re-cap of every chapter.

The best part is, the Dr. who wrote it has taken real life patients (names, small details changed to preserve privacy) and led the reader through the brain damage and the resulting strange behaviors. Then there are simple experiments that further demonstrate how our brains work.

The case histories you are presented with in the beginning feel like you are reading about someone who has "gone insane". Apparently, in medicine, the strange cases were/are mostly written off as either insane or not worth the time to explore.

But that's just it, they aren't crazy. They are perfectly sane, intelligent people who have suffered a kind of brain injury that causes these things or actions. There's a quote in the book from Sherlock Holmes "I know, my dear Watson, that you share my love of all that is bizarre and outside the conventions and humdrum routines of everyday life." Stuff like that is as good as chocolate to me.

There is a down side to reading this book, however. There are times when I've come to realize that our brain is almost another "being" in our heads. It literally has a "mind" of it's own, and can make one do, say or see things that we KNOW are incorrect. And with most of these case studies, that's exactly the frustrating part for the patient and the doctor alike. They KNOW it's not right, but something is happening. And through these demonstrations, you come to see exactly how it can and does happen. It's very unsettling, at least to me, if I think about it too hard. And right about now you are probably thinking I've been doing more than chores with my time lately.

The other downside, if I can call it that, is a loss of the feeling of mysticism in the world. I'm not sure if mysticism is the word I'm looking for.... After reading this book (I'm almost done with it), there's sortof a scientific "explanation" as to why... say ... someone might have a religious experience, or someone migh have a "premonition". I don't get on the ghost/esp/mystic band wagon all too eagerly, but it was kindof nice to sometimes think that things like that beyond our explanation were out there.

That probably sounds as retarded as I think it does.

Now, the author comes right out and tells you that these ideas of his are pure theory. Nothing can be proven as fact. However, his examples are so compelling, I defy any of you with the huge knowledge out there to point out the reasons why it can't be true (other than those the author already acknowledges.)

Anyway, that's my book recommendation.

I won't be able to resume my usual stories of coffee spillage and Mr. Zoom smart alecness until at least Monday. Stay safe, everyone!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Of Course Life Got In The Way.

I'm going to be a bit scarce in the next couple of weeks. I've got a bunch of projects piling up and work is getting a little more demanding than normal.

One of these projects is loading the gagillion cds I brought to this marriage onto Mr. Zoom's itunes. So far I've managed to sully his collection with some Megadeath, Queensryche, a Barb Wire soundtrack (totally not kidding), Alien Sex Fiend, Chicasaw Mud Puppies, Muckypup, Metallica, Aerosmith, Sisters of Mercy, Kiss, Saves the Day, Love and Rockets, A Newfound Glory, Tones on Tail, Infectious Grooves, Mindless Self Indulgence, Erasure, Bauhaus, Crass, The Vandals, White Zombie, Rob Zombie, Weird Al Yankovik, Damn Yankees, Marilyn Manson, GWAR, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Pixies, Pennywise, Creed, Psi Com, Nick Cave, Prong, Guns and Roses, Lords of the New Church, X, Human Traffic soundtrack, Anthrax, Corrosion of Conformity, Misfits, Pig, Foetus, Frank Black, Virgin Prunes, Stone Roses, Underworld, Crystal Method and Slaughter. And I really can't wait until I find that digitized Warlock Pinchers song I downloaded about 3 years ago.

And these are just the bands that we didn't have in common, meaning he didn't already have them on his itunes library. Some of them he'd never heard of, some of them he had and was probably thinking "holy crap, I've now got Megadeath in my itunes."

I'm only about halfway through, and I'm super tired of wading through the piles to get to my computer every day (night, after work). I'm clumsy. I don't need obsticles to manuever when I'm already tired and cranky.

I've updated the links, so be sure to go visit those folks. They are all fun in their own way. At least I think so. Hopefully I'll still be able to check in on them myself in the next few weeks.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Pet Name Generator

Mr. Zoom and I have discovered that there is a white owl that lives in the palm tree about two houses down from us. As owls do, it only comes out at dusk or night, which makes it really hard for me to get a picture of it.

Why would I need a picture of it? Because we've decided he's OUR owl, even though he doesn't live in our yard. As if we are the only ones who notice him flying around screeching and clicking. He's just so darn cool!

So the other day Mr. Zoom asked me what we should name him. He asks me this because he knows I've got a few strange pet names in reserve that I want to name a pet. We can't actually have a dog or a cat, so we are left with whatever wanders our way and semi-stays - as well as our 9 goldfish in the pond.

The 9 fish are named: Felvis (that was supposed to be for my next cat), Mr. Limpet, Travis, Jeebus, Moby, Cleo, Abraham, Liam (Mr. Zoom's favorite name for a child) and Seamus (which I try to spell as Shamus every time).

Back to the owl.

So we went back and forth for a mintue when I said "What about SHMOO?" Mr. Zoom said "Ah, I knew it was only a matter of time before I activated the koo koo name generator!"

I said "So you never saw that cartoon? The Shmoo? I think it was on for a very short time as a Saturday morning cartoon." "He was like Casper, with no arms. I think. I don't know if he was even a ghost, but he was a white glob." He said "No. No I didn't." in a way that made me think he was sure I was making this up.

So I was then on a mission to prove that back in the 70s there was a cartoon with a character named Shmoo.


I'm not sure I could have convinced Mr. Zoom (or myself, for that matter) that I really had seen a cartoon with a Shmoo in it back in the 70s.

The owl's name is now Shmoo.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Just Now, I Googled Rumplestiltskin.

Mr. Zoom and I were in the car the other day when he let loose with a string of insults at some drivers around us. He turned to me after it was over and said "Are you ready for this for the rest of your life? How do you like being married to Old Man River?"

I said "...Old.Man.River? Did you just say that? Wait....wha....who is/was old man river?" And what my brian, if that's what we are going to call it, was chewing on was - Is that like Rumplestiltskin? or that character that slept for like 100 years or something and woke up to a whole new world?

Mr. Zoom said "No, Old Man River is what they call the Mississippi."

I said "OH." "'m married to a river?"

Mr. Zoom said "*sigh*. I knew the second I said that it was going to come back around like this. I just knew it."

YAY! Verbal eye roll!

I'm Just Sayin...

My Lost Theory:

Henry Gale = Kaiser Soze

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

My Office is Suddenly the New World and We are Indigenous Peoples

So the new soda machine arrived the other day. And it is now my most favorite office supply, ever.

This new machine fires cans of soda out of the chute at the bottom with such force, that you'd think it was actually powered by Conquistadors. Anyone making a soda selection is first led to believe that the machine will be keeping their .65 by wheezing a distressing wheeze. When adequately peeved, the customer is then shot in the foot with their icy cold refreshment of choice as it flies from the machine trebuchet style.

Angry soda. Now that's some good times.

Monday, April 10, 2006

I'd Rather Eat A Fish Taco Than Drink a Pepsi

Dear Wahoo's Fish Tacos:

Despite the fact that your official name contains "Fish Tacos", I have become addicted to your food. I love the #2 combo. Black beans, rice and two chicken tacos. CHICKEN, not fish. Ew! with the fish.

The only thing that would make me love you more would be for you to drop the contract you have with Pepsi. I hate Pepsi. I used to think Pepsi tasted like dirt. And I know what dirt tastes like thanks to two older brothers and two working parents. I now testify that Pepsi tastes a little like soap AND dirt combined. Yes, I also know what soap tastes like.

Please obtain a contract with Coca Cola. Coke. The beverage that tastes like and is, in fact, good times. You won't be sorry.

Thank you,

Thursday, April 06, 2006

My Doctor Says There's No Creme for Tag

Barry's Baghdad Blog

Ok, so BBB gave me the tagging. And thank goodness this isn't my first one. Because a little while ago I got tagged...and I didn't know what to do with/about it.

In fact, I think I answered all of the questions in the Tagger's comments. Then there was the time that I got tagged, and I think I literally forgot to respond. You know, in the .5 of a second it took me to see something else and run after it.

I think it's neat-o that people try and include me in stuff after I've demonstrated over and over again how wrong I can go with it.

So, here's my official, and hopefully less annoying (although I seriously doubt that) response to BBB's tag:

Four Jobs I've Had:

1. Telephone survey minion. Mystery Shopper for fast food chain. These were for the same company. This was the perfect job for me in high school, as I looked like a punk rock trainwreck.

2. Planogram team at Target. I also worked a cash register for exactly 4 minutes before they realized that I had more fun with the scanning gun than was ever intended.

3. Mail Boxes Etc. - before BROWN came around and bought them all up. I was a jack of all box duties and this register was an older one. No scanning gun. Totally off the subject, but I'm on a one girl mission to change the name of the Fed Ex Kinkos stores to FINKOS. Mr. Zoom must now, in my presence, refer to any former Kinkos as FINKOS.

4. Receptionist at a law firm. They quickly got me the hell out of that position, as more than one blinky line at a time made for "accidental" disconnections.

Four Movies I Can Watch Over and Over:

1. Wizards
2. Dream with the Fishes
3. Billy Madison
4. Repo Man

Four Places I Have Lived:

1. Albuquerque, NM
2. 29 Palms, CA
3. Somewhere else in CA
4. Somewhere Somewhere else in CA.

Four T.V. Shows I Love:

1. Scrubs
2. Lost
3. The Soup (on the E Channel)
4. ALL the reality crime shows on A&E channel

Four Places I Have Vacationed:

2. Thailand
3. Pennsylvania
4. Arizona

Four of my Favorite Dishes:

This better mean food, because the only dishes I know about are paper ones with food on them.

1. Chow Mein.
2. Gringo Burrito - Whole wheat tortilla with rice, chicken and broccoli - and a mystery sauce.
3. Beef
4. Tortellini. Did I even spell that right?

Four Sites I Visit Daily:

3. - although I KNOW I don't get half the funny out of it. Freaking Big Brains with a sense of humor make me so jealous.
4. My blog links.

Four Places I'd Rather Be Right Now:

2. Seattle
3. Canada
4. Working in the same office as Mr. Zoom again.

Four People I Am Tagging:

I think I'm supposed to put in a cute little link with everybody's name...
That's about as likely as me NOT spilling my morning coffee on my chest. Mr. Zoom calls it "splitting the uprights."

Anyway. Just try to forgive my unlinkiness, k?

1. Al - Jeeber's pal.
2. Rev. Brandy
3. My Idiot (Mr. Zoom - it might just be time for his every six months update)
4. Andy T13

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Take a Peek. Then Slam the Cover Down and Run.

The Zooms' dry cleaner is located in the same shopping center as my morning coffee.

Sometimes I have to park the car in such a way that I walk past the dry cleaner. And every time I do that, I think to myself:

"I wonder if they ever look outside, see me or other people walking by, and think 'hey, I cleaned and pressed that sweater/dress/jacket just last week!'"?

And this thought will annoy me. I mean really, this couldn't be more ludicrous. Who would be self absorbed enough to think that their mere passage in front of an open store would cause the people inside to even look up? And even if they did, do I really believe they could identify a piece of clothing on a person...just because they applied that plastic see through bag over perfectly folded articles that are now on me?

No. No I don't.

And I then spend the next 10 minutes trying to get the entire thought trail out of my head.

And even if I really thought someone could recognize my sweater after doing...whatever it is that dry cleaners do with clothes besides fold them...I doubt they'd recognize mine.

Just ask Mr. Zoom. Almost 98% of the time I will button a shirt/sweater up the front in such a way that the buttons aren't lined up with the holes. It's completely crooked, and I don't ever realize it until I am facing Mr. Zoom and he starts laughing. I'd be willing to bet I can disguise any piece of clothing just by attempting to wear it.**

Of course I get the amazing, never failing, compulsive thought process that is completely useless to me. OF COURSE I DO! Just because I walk past the dry cleaner on my way to my morning coffee. And you know what? If I walk past there at night and it's closed? It doesn't happen. Not even a "well, if they were open...." type thing.

Yet...I can't remember where I put my car keys [instructions I just printed/ earrings / jacket / shoe(s)/ glasses - make infinity sign here] 5 minutes ago. Hint? It's the same place I've been putting them for about 2 years now. Oh nooo. Can't pick up a compulsion for that, apparently. Or button my clothes in such a way that I don't look like I've escaped from some kind of supervised care.

**And here's the fun part for Mr. Zoom. When he gets the giggles over my crooked buttoning, I spend a good 2 minutes (clueless) grilling him "WHAT?! What's so funny? What happened? What'd I miss?". And this only makes him laugh harder. By the time he's able to get it out, I'm all indignant. As if it's HIS fault I've been walking around with crooked buttoning.

I am a joy. An absolute JOY to be with.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Time Changes Everything

Isn't it amazing how the Monday after the spring forward time change my Gym looks EXACTLY like a Target? One of my best workouts. Ever.

There are a few people I am acquainted with who recently had children. The hot e-mail topic yesterday was: "How soon after birthing critters can they be taken into public."

One doctor said 4 weeks, one said 6. I don't know if the issue is germs or the fact that babies need time for some kind of sun shield to harden? I know their skulls have soft spots that one shouldn't poke...but the rest is a mystery.

And people wonder why I'm afraid to hold one when they bring it out.

If my parents and other elders are to be believed, newly born children can pretty much be slung in one arm and run like footballs to any destination one chooses. Of course, this is also the tail end of that generation that smoked and drank during pregnancy.

In fact, someone in our little social group, someone who's sass I admire greatly said to Mr. Zoom "That's because your momma smoked when she was pregnant with you."