Welcome to this Researcher's Journal. If you'd like to comment on anything they have written here, just click the relevant 'Discuss this Entry' button.The end of the world as we know it
(Jun 9, 2007)
I had another doozy of a dream. This time, the outcome was not so good...
I saw the president standing behind a desk.
He was addressing a speaker phone in front of him.
“You’ve got to stop it!” he said, not shouting, but I could hear the desperation in his voice.
I saw a young woman wearing a blue short sleeve dress that came to her knees. Maybe twenty. Black shoulder length hair, very curly.
She was facing away from me.
“I can’t, Daddy!” she sobbed, and turned towards me. She had a screw driver in her hands, and tears running down her cheeks. There was electronic equipment next to her. She slumped into the corner where she stood and slowly slid down the wall to the floor.
I saw a huge rocket, screaming directly downward towards the earth. Long, and green, with a needle-sharp point. Under full power, the flames behind it were bright white, and a stream of black smoke laid the path it had followed. Because the nose was so pointed, the rocket disappeared into the earth at impact.
Then there was a massive thermonuclear explosion.
Far, far away, I was standing in a building. Maybe an office or hotel. People were running everywhere. Panic. Loading cars, running in the streets, trying to get away. “To where?” I thought. “It’s over. We’re toast”. I roamed the halls looking in rooms, and gave some advice to a girl I knew – “Stay inside, you’ll last longer”. She crossed the hall, entered a room and I never saw her again. The halls got emptier and it got quieter as people left. I met a few more people in the hall. I advised them to stay inside too. When the fallout comes, it will be dangerous to be in it. I wondered if the building would shield us much.
I found a bar in the building. A few people sat having a drink, watching the TV news about the panic. I sat down for a moment, then walked to the window when I saw some motion.
Outside, it looked like it was snowing hard, except it was a dingy grey, not white. There were no people in sight. The city was abandoned. I think it was like that everywhere.
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New Solutions to Global Warming, Fuel Shortages, and Obesity
(Apr 27, 2007)
My German Short Haired Pointer has been off on vacation. When he goes, he often writes home to discuss things he's been thinking about while on the road. ( Hey, what are you laughing about? He's a smart dog!) Recently his letter responded to my concerns over global warming, the need for a new renewable fuel source, and the frightening increase in obesity in the U.S. Here is an exerpt from his letter:
Sometimes all it takes to solve the worlds problems is a new way of looking at things. Sometimes you need to get the geniuses out of the way and hire someone lower down the food chain, like myself.
So there I was, thinking about what they claim is the reason for global warming, the greenhouse gas CO2. Well, anyone with a fundamental high school chemistry knowledge can surely sort this out. CO2 is carbon and oxygen. H is Hydrogen. So it stands to reason that if you mix the two together, you get what? CARBOHYDRATES.
And everyone knows that carbohydrates are what you find in snacks. So if we mix our CO2 with H, and make snacks, then eat the snacks, we get what? FAT.
So then you simply use liposuction to harvest the fat, and we SELL IT FOR FUEL!
I've even gone to the trouble of refining the solution a little further, as a result of a Pomeranian I met pointing out that there probably aren't enough doctors to perform the liposuction. What you do, is add a drive-up liposuction window to fast food restaurants . That way people can pick up their carbohydrates and pay for it with their fat deposits.
You see? We've solved global warming and our energy shortage and obesity and provided a way to cut the cost of fast food, all in one fell swoop. Next time you need a new solution, ask a pointer.
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(Apr 13, 2007)
A sad passing. Last night I heard that Kurt Vonnegut died at age 84. He was, in some ways, the American counterpart to Douglas Adams. Still and all, 84 years is a long time, and he got the chance to do something I wish I'd done - make a living writing down the voices I hear in my head. Here's to you, Mr. V!
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I had a dream
(Mar 24, 2007)
As it started I was coming to the end of a boulevard in a city. It opened onto a busy street, with trolley-buses going by and stopping for commuters. I crossed the street in front of one and zig-zagged left then right onto a spacious pedestrian-only avenue between two city blocks lined with small cafe's, and boutiques in well-kept brick buildings. Midway up the avenue I exchanged pleasantries with an older woman who was also new to the area before continuing on. She was sitting at a cast iron patio table of an open air cafe. She was slim with short white hair and wore a turqoise business suit.
That was when I realized you were ahead of me about 50 feet. I had just caught up to you at the other end of the block, and it seemed like to reach our destination we would need to continue in the same direction but to do so had to skirt around a park. It was just as I'd caught up that noticed two things. One, I was in a grey suit. Two, a small object was falling in an arc towards us out of the sky.
It fell behind us and broke into pieces. I could hear it hissing as it came down. A second object followed seconds behind and this time I saw it sooner and made it out to be a rocket. I shouted "ROCKET ATTACK" and ran to the left, towards the corner of the avenue. You ran forward, and the last I saw you, you were running around some trees at the edge of the park. Three or four more rockets landed near the spot where we were standing when we met, but then started hitting closer to me so I continued around the corner of the building on my left and began to trot down the street. I was watching the sky to the right, where the rockets were coming from. They were more frequent and landing closer to me now.
I ducked into a dead-end alley that slanted downward and stopped abruptly. I was now sided by brick walls on three sides and the rockets were coming faster and faster and were no longer taking lazy arcs but were hissing past me like arrows, nearly parallel with the ground.
Now I had to actually evade each one as they whizzed past. I narrowly missed getting hit in the left knee, then arched forward to let one pass where my abdomen had just been, and next arch my back and snap my head back as one targeted where my head was. Each rocket was white, about three or four feet long, with a white rounded but sharp-pointed nose cone, with a red dot at the point and a red circle around the section where the nose met the body. As they approached, they looked like smoking bulls-eyes with fins.
I fell back, and now lay on my back watching rocket after rocket appear, grow, glide by, inches above my body. I realized that I was down the incline far enough to prevent being struck. They couldn't get the arc quite right. Too high missed me, too low struck the pavement before it got to me. I lay there for a few more seconds thinking that they had to run out of rockets at some point. Most seemed to be passing over my legs and hips. I flipped onto my stomach between shots and started dragging myself forward to get out from under their path. I made it about three feet, but then found I couldn't get any traction. The cement incline was covered with some sort of waxy coating that made it difficult to propel myself.
Then I woke up. Well you always do, don't you?
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(Mar 12, 2007)
Some time back, when I arrived home from work, there were some new photos sitting on the kitchen counter. They were from rolls of film that spanned nearly a year, and frankly, I’d forgotten that I’d taken them.
As usual, most weren’t worth a second glance. But there were some of our August camping trip, including some good shots of the loons that call the pond where we stayed home, some striking sunsets, and the pond and mountains lit by a bronze sunset. When I looked at them, they evoked a memory of one special day…
Loons have an unmistakable call. Actually, they have a few once you start listening. One of them is sort of conversational. One is to announce a perceived threat. One is an “all clear” call. And there was another one. One I had never heard before this day.
I was at our campsite, away from the water. It was nearing the end of a warm and sunny day. When we heard the warning call, I began preparing my camera by fitting a zoom lens. Shortly, I got a call over the hand-held radio from our two boys who were fishing down at the pond. “Dad, the eagle’s back.”
I’d been hoping to get a decent picture of him all week but he’s shy. Not like the ospreys, which we’d been seeing pull fish out of the pond every other day or so.
I hurried down to the shore, and found him sitting in a tree directly across from the landing. I decided to see how close he’d let me get. Climbing into our kayak, I alternated between paddling and photographing. I figured that in this way, I would have taken at least one photo at the optimal distance before he got nervous and left.
As I did this, the loons swam in a circle at the foot of the tree he was perched in, sending their danger calls up to the heavens, energizing the air with their haunting voices.
I am used to the loons breaking off whatever they are doing if I drift too close. And I’m used to the eagle leaving before I can get anywhere near him in my canoe. So it came as a surprise when I stopped for one last photo at perhaps eighty feet from his tree, and the loons began circling me still wailing their beautiful cry.
Now it was nearly sunset and that’s when the magic really started. The last rays were fondling the mountain behind me and the whole world was gold. Not colored gold. It was gold. The eagle leaned forward, spread his wings, and jumped into the air. He flew lazily over my left shoulder, turned across the sun, and his silhouette shrank as he flew out of sight.
I turned and looked at the loons now circling me, and it occurred to me that I had never taken the kayak near them before, and I probably resembled a huge loon myself. They swam to a spot between me and the setting sun, their call now changed to the “all’s clear” sign. I sat their briefly, basking in the warm golden glow, letting their song vibrate through my body.
Then their voices changed in timbre, and somehow I interpreted the meaning differently. It no longer meant “Safe!”. Now it meant “Triumph!”. They began to dance, raising themselves out of the water, spreading their wings, and singing with their attention directed straight up to the golden sky.
I don’t know how long it lasted. I don’t remember much more, except returning to the dock as it darkened all around. That is, I don’t remember much except that all too short period when I stared into the golden half-globe that was the setting sun, bathed in color and sound without equal, feeling very, very happy.
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