Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Strange Incident of April 29

I've been recording my dreams lately. I hauled out an old book that I used to use to keep them in. Bought it in Malaysia. Funky, mesmerizing pattern on the cover. Anyway, recording your dreams is supposed to make you better at remembering them, and one step closer to the sought-after lucid dream, which I've had but that's a whole other subject. Suffice to say that I've had some pretty weird images and experiences in my waking mind of late. But that's not what this was.

I set out this morning running late. I was on just 4 hours of sleep. I don't do that much anymore, but chilly out, I was feeling awake and clear-headed, regardless. I pulled my rain jacket about me for warmth.

Crossing the street into the park that leads to the park'n'ride and my bus to work, I put my earbuds on and hit play. I'd just loaded some Dread Zeppelin, and their version of Black Dog started up. Strange sounds for a spring park scene in the morning, but DZ always makes me smile.

That's when I looked to my right, past the fenced-in baseball diamond where we take the dog to play fetch off-leash.

I saw someone walking, a spring in their step. But, well... they appeared to have no head.

Instead there was a horizontal line of white, and a diagonal one running down into the body as it strode forward. I slowed a bit but, well, I didn't want to stare.

I looked ahead and bit my lip. The Twilight Zone theme played on guitar as DZ continued their intro.

I looked back. The headless figure jauntily bobbed forward, the brilliant white angle, like a 7, protruding outward. Well, I thought. I can't really explain that.

For a moment I wondered if the person was wearing some kind of costume. Some kind of headless man costume. Through the park. In the morning. It was hard to work out which was the less realistic explanation. At the same time, I felt like I'd passed some kind of test. It's hard to know how a person will react when confronted with something that surreal. I like knowing that my mind isn't about to snap like a twig just because I encounter a few headless people on their way to work. I suspect much of this particular thought process is explained by the lack of sleep.

I was tired, and I wasn't wearing my glasses (when I'm not tired I'm 20/20 without), but there was no doubting that I was wide awake, and my vision was sharp.

I paused at the edge of the park, and that's when I saw the figure cross in front of some different scenery. The parts of head above and below the shimmering white
headband showed for an instant, and then blended in again. The sky was overcast, the scene all dark blues and greens. The headband, and perhaps some kind of draping cloth glowed a brilliant white in contrast.

Heh. I continued on.

Later I saw the person board my bus. A woman. Somehow I was expecting a Japanese man. She met my gaze for a moment and I took in the odd headband and scarf arrangement. Then she settled into her seat, and we both headed downtown.


Friday, April 25, 2008

Here's yer video

Note the "SILF" t-shirt. Kids, don't explain it to your parents.

Friday, April 18, 2008

It's definitely on

Last week, there was the smell.
Earlier this week, motorcycles, bicycles.
Yesterday, girls on roller-blades and 20 degrees.

It's definitely on. Spring is here.

So, there's been a night and day difference in swimming, quite abruptly.

Last week, fetching rings from the bottom made class suddenly comfortable.

Then yesterday, I was restless from not being to the gym or pool recently, and too hot in the hot tub waiting for class to begin and thinking about how nice it would be to get in; our instructor is also ticking off skills on her list so there was a lot more underwater work -- swimming a distance underwater, and dolphin kicks in preparation for butterfly work. There's something about underwater work that takes me right back to Asia and all the fin-diving I did. And when you know you're going to be under for a minute or more, it becomes crystal clear that you have no need to be taking a breath every 5 seconds. It's just not necessary. And all the skills work keeps you thinking about other things, the way going under with slates and a camera did.

So the bit of front crawl I did was, well, a piece of cake. Easy, comfortable, confident. Now I can just concentrate on the moves. At least until I think about swimming in a river.

Meanwhile, 5km Law Run coming up next Friday. Looking forward to it!

Ok, videos. Two of em. The first one has its "oh, ah AAAAAAHHHHHH!" moment at about the 1-minute mark. The second is pretty much all like that. The experience of either would suffer terribly from stutter, so load entirely ahead of time before playing. Have fun.

Low volume recommended.

Regular volume recommended.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Ok, I can't stand it

Also very good, and very catchy. There's still 5 minutes left in this video Friday so I'm posting it. Enjoy.

Best Video Ever

Ok, yes, you were Rickroll'd.

But it was the week of April Fool's. Had to be done.

This week, I came across so many amazing videos that it was hard to decide which I'd put up. Until, that is, I saw this one. Then it was no contest.

I predict you will watch it twice. Then later, once again. After that there's probably no saving you. I now have all the stuff these guys have done on my mp3 player. Enjoy. (requires sound!)

Friday, April 04, 2008


(this is a family blog)

Well, where to start.

I hate to swim.

I wanted to be positive about it, you know? I don't care for it. I'm not good at it and I don't care for it. Sometimes it downright gives me the willies. But no, actually, it sucks. I'm addicted to air, and I want it when I want it, not when I'm next supposed to be able to have it, if a wave doesn't go crashing over my head.

So I had a little incident. A little drowny-type thing as a kid in my uncle's swimming pool. Not that serious. My dad was there to pull me out. (thanks dad) The thing that bothered me about it was that you're supposed to be able to just... swim. Everybody says so. That's why you hurl your loved ones into the nearest freestanding pool or river, and can do the same thing with a dog, no? Instinct just kicks in. I remember a lot of flailing. And sinking.

Fast-forward to swimming lessons. Still not too comfortable but making progress. It gets to be evaluation day. I dunno. Not too far along, but not the first course, either. And what happens. The elastic on my trunks snaps. But I'm too embarrassed to tell anyone, so I complete the evaluations -- including a dive -- with one hand at my waist, to hold my shorts up. FAIL.

A little further along. Grade 4. I'm not crazy about pools by this point, and having not developed ability, have not developed confidence. But we take a school trip to the Pan Am pool. Kind of exciting. Cold, large, but exciting. Then my teacher -- notoriously unfriendly woman to put it mildly, stabs me in the eye with one of her gigantic fingernails as I'm swimming along. Gah! I don't know what freaked me out more: that I thought I may have lost an eye, or that my teacher was suddenly being incredibly nice to me. So I develop a paranoia about being underwater in public swimming pools, where in the state of your muffled hearing, you can never tell if someone is about to, say, dive on top of you and snap your spine like a twig, or perhaps stab you in the eye, blinding you for life.

Fast-forward to about 7 years ago. I'm in Asia for a year, just backpacking around and taking stock. Haven't done a lot of swimming so little ability, little confidence. Same old story. But I'm in excellent shape and I make a decent go of it. HUGE frickin hurricane hits. I mean gigantic. I actually snap pictures of a waterspout but turns out the camera I bought in Bangkok was a complete bust. Anyway. Huge frickin storm. Goes on and on. Our beach can only be reached by small boat. Supplies run short. Then one morning, daylight. The waves are brown with debris, but things are looking up. Fantastic! So a bunch of us go trekking to the other side of the island where there are "huge waves, I mean really immense". Only post-storm, they weren't huge. They were gigantic. Oh yeah, and it wasn't post-storm, turns out. We were in the eye, but didn't know it. So it screwed up the waves and currents beyond recognition from the beach. Riptide almost takes two of my friends away, then catches me. Completely done for. No idea how I pulled through. Well some idea, but that's another story. Shaken, not stirred, to say the least.

Still, just two weeks later I'm due to take my first SCUBA course, so I have to get back in the water and get comfortable again. That day. No time to think about it. Don't think about it. Do not think about it.

So here I am today. I like to run. Running is good. You can breathe all you want; the cement never conspires to suck you under to some final, dark place of suffocation. Nope. Happy, tiring fun. But I've always wanted to do triathlons, so...

I'm taking swimming lessons again. And if my elastic breaks, I think I'll tell my instructor. And I'll say it again: swimming fricking sucks. Laps suck. Sticking your head underwater sucks. I can do backstroke forever and ever, but front crawl, erg. And don't even get me started on breast stroke. But slowly it's beginning to come together. Things got chaotic in the pool the other day with another class suddenly crashing into my lane while I was swimming along, and I got that nasty vulnerable feeling again, unable to suss what was going on underwater. But mostly good. We did search and rescue surface dive patterns yesterday, and retrieving things off the bottom of the pool, and that was fun. Of course, this is all in a pool. The swimming portion of triathlons are done in lakes and rivers. Different kind of fun.

So today after work I hit the gym. 5 minutes on treadmill; full weights workout, really hard. Then half an hour on the elliptical till I could feel a tendon start to tick, then onto the bike. What the heck, I figure. The upcoming sprint triathlon has a 20km bike portion. I'll do that. Not expecting much. It's just twiddling your feet in circles, isn't it? Well holy hell. I struggled to get it done in 40 minutes, and it ate me right up. This thing is gonna be harder than I thought.

So it's Friday again and I have a special treat. The best Muppet footage ever. Enjoy.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

"Hmm, that's not good,"

I thought. We were the last two left. Looks bad. Evasive.

The customs officer was standing primly in the aisle of the aircraft, at a table that came up to her waist. Tall, blond, in a uniform vaguely dress military.

She looked in our direction, nodding with a slight but insistent smile.

I looked at Jules and squeezed by, while other passengers, having already returned from the woman, were picking up their things and moving on. All of it seemed somehow slightly futuristic, sterile, and threatening.

"A few questions, sir," she said, with an English accent.

I nodded.

"Your doctor's name?"

"Floyd Grant." I have no idea if I was making it up.

"Mmm. Neurologist? Optometrist? Psychologist?

"Uh, GP."

But she was already counting out pills. Big, flat, white ones. Each had a large black letter or number on it.

"Right then, here you are. Enjoy your stay."

Then it was Jules' turn.


Tuesday, April 01, 2008

I got the news today, oh boy...

Dire news from Reuters.