Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Today You.. Tomorrow Me.

Have you ever picked up a hitchhiker?

Just about every time I see someone I stop. I kind of got out of the habit in the last couple of years, moved to a big city and all that, my girlfriend wasn't too stoked on the practice. Then some shit happened to me that changed me and I am back to offering rides habitually. If you would indulge me, it is long story and has almost nothing to do with hitch hiking other than happening on a road.

This past year I have had 3 instances of car trouble. A blow out on a freeway, a bunch of blown fuses and an out of gas situation. All of them were while driving other people's cars which, for some reason, makes it worse on an emotional level. It makes it worse on a practical level as well, what with the fact that I carry things like a jack and extra fuses in my car, and know enough not to park, facing downhill, on a steep incline with less than a gallon of fuel.

Anyway, each of these times this shit happened I was DISGUSTED with how people would not bother to help me. I spent hours on the side of the freeway waiting, watching roadside assistance vehicles blow past me, for AAA to show. The 4 gas stations I asked for a gas can at told me that they couldn't loan them out "for my safety" but I could buy a really shitty 1-gallon one with no cap for $15. It was enough, each time, to make you say shit like "this country is going to hell in a handbasket."

But you know who came to my rescue all three times? Immigrants. Mexican immigrants. None of them spoke a lick of the language. But one of those dudes had a profound affect on me.

He was the guy that stopped to help me with a blow out with his whole family of 6 in tow. I was on the side of the road for close to 4 hours. Big jeep, blown rear tire, had a spare but no jack. I had signs in the windows of the car, big signs that said NEED A JACK and offered money. No dice. Right as I am about to give up and just hitch out there a van pulls over and dude bounds out. He sizes the situation up and calls for his youngest daughter who speaks english. He conveys through her that he has a jack but it is too small for the Jeep so we will need to brace it. He produces a saw from the van and cuts a log out of a downed tree on the side of the road. We rolled it over, put his jack on top, and bam, in business. I start taking the wheel off and, if you can believe it, I broke his tire iron. It was one of those collapsible ones and I wasn't careful and I snapped the head I needed clean off. Fuck.

No worries, he runs to the van, gives it to his wife and she is gone in a flash, down the road to buy a tire iron. She is back in 15 minutes, we finish the job with a little sweat and cussing (stupid log was starting to give), and I am a very happy man. We are both filthy and sweaty. The wife produces a large water jug for us to wash our hands in. I tried to put a 20 in the man's hand but he wouldn't take it so I instead gave it to his wife as quietly as I could. I thanked them up one side and down the other. I asked the little girl where they lived, thinking maybe I could send them a gift for being so awesome. She says they live in Mexico. They are here so mommy and daddy can pick peaches for the next few weeks. After that they are going to pick cherries then go back home. She asks if I have had lunch and when I told her no she gave me a tamale from their cooler, the best fucking tamale I have ever had.

So, to clarify, a family that is undoubtedly poorer than you, me, and just about everyone else on that stretch of road, working on a seasonal basis where time is money, took an hour or two out of their day to help some strange dude on the side of the road when people in tow trucks were just passing me by. Wow...

But we aren't done yet. I thank them again and walk back to my car and open the foil on the tamale cause I am starving at this point and what do I find inside? My fucking $20 bill! I whirl around and run up to the van and the guy rolls his window down. He sees the $20 in my hand and just shaking his head no like he won't take it. All I can think to say is "Por Favor, Por Favor, Por Favor" with my hands out. Dude just smiles, shakes his head and, with what looked like great concentration, tried his hardest to speak to me in English:

"Today you.... tomorrow me."

Rolled up his window, drove away, his daughter waving to me in the rear view. I sat in my car eating the best fucking tamale of all time and I just cried. Like a little girl. It has been a rough year and nothing has broke my way. This was so out of left field I just couldn't deal.

In the 5 months since I have changed a couple of tires, given a few rides to gas stations and, once, went 50 miles out of my way to get a girl to an airport. I won't accept money. Every time I tell them the same thing when we are through:

"Today you.... tomorrow me."

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Sunday, July 18, 2010

4 Types of Perfectionism

by Pavel Somov, Ph.D. original post click here.

As I clinically see it there are 4 types of perfectionism:

- Neurotic Perfectionism
- Narcissistic Perfectionism
- Principled (Puritanical) Perfectionism
- Hyper-Attentive (Compensatory) Perfectionism

The first three of these are essentially "software" problems. The solution to "software-type" perfectionism is "re-programming." The Hyper-Attentive type of perfectionism is a "hardware" (brain) issue.

Neurotic Perfectionism

Neurotic perfectionism is motivated by "the need for approval" (Flett & Hewitt, 2002, p. 24). Neurotic perfectionism parallels the Conscientious Compulsive variant of OCPD (Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder, not to be confused with OCD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder).

Such individuals exhibit "a conforming dependency, a compliance to rules and authority, and a willing submission to the wishes, values, expectations and demands of others." They have "a strong sense of duty, which masks underlying feelings of personal inadequacy." They fear "that failure to perform perfectly will lead to both abandonment and condemnation" by others (Millon et al., 2000, p. 176-177).

Neurotic perfectionists aren't wimps. They are wounded egos. They are casualties of poor parenting, societal pressures, and possibly of abuse. They have been programmed and conditioned to feel bad about themselves and to please, appease, accommodate others. For example, a neurotic perfectionist might spend a sleepless night worrying about the gift he bought his wife for their anniversary, and convince himself, by the end of the night, that it's insultingly cheap, that she'll hate it, and he must return it for something better, more perfect, or else she might leave him which will confirm that he is unlovable.

Narcissistic Perfectionism


Remember that Greek myth of Narcissus who was so enamored by the reflection of his own image in a pond that he was unable to stop marveling at it? Narcissists thrive on mirrors. No, not necessarily on the physical mirrors, but on the mirrors of social feedback.

Contrary to the common misperception, narcissists aren't arrogant even if they act arrogant. They simply don't feel good about themselves. If you are recognizing yourself in this, chances are you grew up with a narcissistic parent. Most narcissists are tragically the children of narcissists. Growing up with an insecure parent, you might have lost your sense of self because your sense of self was in the service of being a mirror for your parent's frail ego. And now, just like your parents, perhaps, the only way for you to feel special is to command special treatment, to insist on unquestioning compliance with your wishes from others, to demand nothing less than perfection from others.

Clinically, narcissistic perfectionism parallels the Bureaucratic Compulsive variant of OCPD. Bureaucratic Compulsives, as the name suggests, thrive on hierarchical superiority. For example, they are eager to show off their "knowledge of the rules;" they are "effectiveness with red tape;" "punctual and meticulous;" they tend to appraise "their own and other' tasks with black-and-white efficiency, as done or not done" (Millon, 2000, p. 179).

In sum, they are intolerant of imperfection as they feel it reflects unfavorably on them. If they are perfect and everything around them is perfect, then others will respond to them as perfect, and then, and only then, will they buy into the perfect reflection in the social mirror and finally feel good about themselves, if only for a brief moment.

Principled Perfectionism

Principled perfectionism is perfectionism about ethics and morality. Principled perfectionists feel so passionately about what they believe that they run the risk of imposing their beliefs onto others. They strive for moral perfection and demand nothing less of themselves. As a result not only are they really hard on themselves but they may be also rather judgmental of others' imperfections.

Principled perfectionists run a close parallel to Puritanical Compulsives who can be characterized as self-righteous, zealous, uncompromising, indignant, dogmatic, and judgmental (Millon, 2000). Principled perfectionism also parallels the so-called "world-oriented perfectionism," which is defined as "the belief that precise, correct, and perfect solutions to all human and world problems exist" (Flett & Hewitt, 2002, p. 14, my italics). If you are recognizing yourself in this, don't feel too bad: idealism is just innocence and righteousness is, in essence, enthusiasm. You aren't bad for wanting to save the world.

Hyper-Attentive Perfectionism


Perfectionism may be related to a particularly hyper-attentive cognitive style. It has been noted that some compulsives are so good at concentrating that they cannot stop concentrating, that "they can't skim a page, they must scrutinize every word" (Maxment & Ward, 1995, p. 417). Individuals with this type of stimulus-bound cognitive style are "easily distracted and disturbed by new information or external events" (Beck et al., 2004, p. 323-324). David Shapiro (1965) suggested that this information-processing style might be related to social deficits and inability to grasp "'the emotional tone' of social situations" (Millon, 2000, p. 190-191).

So what we have here is a situation in which an attentional deficit leads to a social deficit, at which point the person relies on trying to be perfect so as to avoid social disapproval, rejection and isolation. The solution to this "hardware" type of perfectionism is attention-training and possibly, psychotropic medication.

Update Your Mindware

One thing is clear: whichever type of perfectionism you have, you got it by accident. Whether you were born into a macro-culture of Western perfectionism or merely thrown into a particular dysfunctional microcosm of your family (that required you to be perfect to survive), your perfectionistic personality style is an accident. Correct it.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Cheer Up Keanu Day



On June 15, due to a recent photo of Keanu eating alone, a huge outpouring of love came in the form of creating a ‘Cheer Up Keanu Day’. Fans left endearing messages and creative photoshopped pictures depicting the actor in different scenes all in a effort to cheer up the Matrix actor. In case you missed it, here’s a hilarious video that pretty much summed it up.

Lyrics by Azured, Melody by Plain White Ts, Pictures by INTERNET:

Verse 1:
Hey there Keanu
It's about time that someone said it
But your picture makes us feel sad
God I hope that you read Reddit
Yes I do
Cause all my posts are just for you
I swear it's true

Verse 2:
Hey there Keanu
Don't you worry about the pigeons
Have your lunch alone in sorrow
Boy that sandwich looks delicious
Close your eyes
Pictures of you are no surprise
This karma's nice

Chorus:
Oh it's what you do to me
Oh it's Reddit sympathy
'Whoa' is what you say to me
'Whoa' is what you say to me
It's what you say to me

Verse 3:
Hey there Keanu
I know times have been real hard
But with some upvotes from my friends
We'll steer that bus between the cars
We'll have it good
You know kung fu it's understood
I just got wood

Verse 4:
Hey there Keanu
My photoshop skills have no limits
If all the shops with cats I did of you
Would help to lift your spirits
I'd shop it all
I'd even shop you with Ron Paul
That park's too small

Chorus:
Oh it's what you do to me
Oh it's Reddit sympathy
'Whoa' is what you say to me
'Whoa' is what you say to me
It's what you say to me

Bridge:
You give so much with all your heart
Some motorbikes just for a start
But I'd work with you for very little pay
We don't need to stop this bus
There is no spoon what's all the fuss
And Mountain breeze is such a trippy name
Keanu I can promise you
That by the time we get through
The Reddit memes will never ever be the same
And you're to blame

Verse 5:
Hey there Keanu
Eat your lunch and don't you miss me
One more week and we'll be done with you
Please don't think that we're unhappy but it's true
Circlejerk won't know what's left to do
I can't imagine someone new
Hey there Keanu here's to you
This one's for you

Chorus:
Oh it's what you do to me
Oh it's Reddit sympathy
'Whoa' is what you say to me
'Whoa' is what you say to me
It's what you say to me

Saturday, June 19, 2010

74% - Dad's Popular


When you ask U.S. adults about their parents, fully 74% say they feel close to their father. But a 2006 Pew Research Center survey found that somewhat more, 87%, say they feel close to their mother. Moreover, dogs edge both parents, as well as cats, in the human intimacy sweepstake. Fully 94% of dog owners say they feel "close" to their pet compared with 84% of cat owners. So for anyone keeping score, the family intimacy standings look like this: dog 94%; mom 87%; cat 84%; dad 74%. Happy Father's Day, Dad!


Source: Pew Research Center

Original Post Found HERE.

The ‘Beauty Bias’ at Work


By Lindsay Beyerstein

In her provocative new book, The Beauty Bias: The Injustice of Appearance in Law and Life, Stanford law professor Deborah Rhode argues that workers deserve legal protection against appearance-based discrimination unless their looks are directly relevant to their job performance.

Six cities and one state already ban various kinds of appearance-based discrimination. Contrary to the dire predictions of critics, these laws have not generated a flurry of litigation. Michigan, which banned appearance discrimination in the 1970s, averages one such lawsuit a year.

Rhode convincingly argues that beauty bias in the workplace is a widespread problem with serious consequences. Between 12 and 14 percent of workers say they've suffered some kind of appearance-based discrimination on the job.

It should go without saying that discrimination on the basis of appearance is unjust, especially when it comes to features individuals have little or no control over. Rhode does a good job of spelling out why such bias is offensive to human dignity and equal opportunity.

Volumes of psychological research have shown that unattractive people are assumed to be less intelligent, less capable and less trustworthy. Almost from birth, infants stare longer at faces that adults rate as attractive.

Employers are not immune. Resumes get less consideration if the boss thinks they're coming from an unattractive person. Rhode notes that unattractive people are less likely to get hired and promoted and that they earn less on average, even in occupations where appearance has nothing to do with the job.

The increasing prevalence of obesity in America has done nothing to curb virulent prejudice against fat people. Ironically, immobilizing obesity is protected as a disability, but discrimination based purely on cosmetic aversion to fat is totally legal. In one study, 43% of overweight women reported feeling stigmatized by their employers. Obese women earn 12% less than their thinner counterparts with comparable qualifications. Obese women are more likely to live in poverty, even after controlling for other factors.

Rhode notes that beauty bias also exacerbates and perpetuates other kinds of discrimination. Female workers are held to more elaborate grooming standards than their male counterparts. Then again, women also face discrimination in more senior positions for being too pretty or too sexy. Debrahlee Lorenzana, a Citibank employee is making headlines for claiming that she was fired for distracting her male colleagues with excessive sexiness.

There's a lot of overlap between appearance discrimination and racism. Some have speculated that coworkers percieved Lorenzana in a more sexualized way because she's Latina. Stereotypically Anglo-European features like smooth hair, slim hips, and pert noses loom large in our prevailing beauty ideals. There's a class component in beauty bias, too. A gleaming smile engineered by an orthodontist is a badge of membership in the middle class. As we all know, poverty increases the risk of obesity.

Thanks to the skyrocketing popularity of plastic surgery, a gulf is emerging between those who can afford Botox and facelifts and those who have to wear the natural signs of aging as gracefully as they can. Last year, the National Organization for Women came out against a proposed plastic surgery tax on the grounds that older women need work to get jobs in today's economy.

Rhode acknowledges that the law can only do so much to mitigate the effects of such deep-seated prejudices, but she argues that the enormity of the problem is no excuse for inaction. Sexism, racism and homophobia are certainly ingrained, but that doesn't mean that the law is powerless against them. As segregationists said in the era of Brown, you can't legally force people not to be bigots. On the other hand, when you discourage people from acting like bigots, tolerance can become a habit.

Rhode doesn't specifically address the role of unions in fighting appearance discrimination, but some of the famous examples she discusses in her book involve union members. The two waitresses who successfully challenged the Borgata Hotel and Casino's strict weight limit in court also filed a successful grievance through the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union (HERE) on the grounds that implementation of the rule violated their collective bargaining agreement.

Michael Yelnosky argues in the Duke Law Review that labor laws already provide a robust framework for unions to fight various kinds of appearance-related discrimination. He notes that the Borgata waitresses had an easier time than a nonunion bartender at Harrah's Casino in Nevada who was ultimately fired for bucking the house rule that female bartenders had to wear makeup and teased hair while their male colleagues just had to look neat. A Nevada court ruled that Darlene Jesperson's allegations weren't enough to outweigh the principle of at-will employment (i.e., the employer's right to fire anyone for just about any reason).

The good news for union workers is that virtually every collective bargaining agreement involves limitations on the employer's right to fire at will. Yelnowsky stresses that unions can protect their members from appearance-based discrimination when it comes time to negotiate what constitutes "just cause" for termination. He cites an example in which a union successfully negotiated the right of dairy workers to have beards. He also notes that an all-female flight attendants union negotiated height, weight and dress standards through collective bargaining as early as 1945.

There's a tendency to dismiss concerns over looks-based discrimination as frivolous. The Beauty Bias dares us to take appearance discrimination seriously, and for that alone it's an important book. For more on the book, check out reviews by Dahlia Lithwick in Slate, Emily Bazelon in the New York Times, and Anna North on Jezebel.

Original Post Found HERE

Friday, May 14, 2010

Chinese Tycoon Gives His Whole Fortune - $1.2B to Charity

Real-estate tycoon Yu Pengnian has now moved his entire $1.2 billion fortune into his charity to help China's poor.

Yu has several children, none of whom will inherit any of his fortunes, a move he says his children agree with. "If my children are more capable than me, it's not necessary to leave a lot of money to them. If they are incompetent, a lot of money will only be harmful to them," he said.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

glow of happiness


When you have once seen the glow of happiness on the face of a beloved person, you know that a man can have no vocation but to awaken that light on the faces surrounding him; and you are torn by the thought of the unhappiness and night you cast, by the mere fact of living, in the hearts you encounter.

- Albert Camus

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Who can build the tallest tower with a marshmallow, tape, string, and dry spaghetti?

In this six-minute TED Talk video, Autodesk Fellow Tom Wujec describes a team-building contest in which groups of four people are asked to build the tallest free-standing structure possible out of 20 sticks of spaghetti, a yard of tape, a yard of string, and a marshmallow.

Wujec says that very young kids usually build taller and more interesting structures than most adults, because they build a lot of prototypes in the 18 minutes each group is allotted, while adults spend a lot of time planning, then have no time to correct their mistakes.

- from Boing Boing

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Chat with God


found this floating in the internet:

God : Hello. Did you call me?

Me: Called you? No.. Who is this ?

God : This is GOD. I heard your prayers. So I thought I will chat.

Me: I do pray. Just makes me feel good. I am actually busy now. I am in the midst of something.

God : What are you busy at? Ants are busy too.

Me: Don't know. But I can't find free time. Life has become hectic. It's rush hour all the time.

God : Sure. Activity gets you busy. But productivity gets you results. Activity consumes time. Productivity frees it.

Me: I understand. But I still can't figure out. By the way, I was not expecting YOU to buzz me on instant messaging chat.

God : Well I wanted to resolve your fight for time, by giving you some clarity. In this net era, I wanted to reach you through the medium you are comfortable with.

Me: Tell me, why has life become complicated now?

God : Stop analyzing life. Just live it. Analysis is what makes it complicated.

Me: why are we then constantly unhappy?

God : Your today is the tomorrow that you worried about yesterday. You are worrying because you are analyzing. Worrying has become your habit. That's why you are not happy.

Me: But how can we not worry when there is so much uncertainty?

God : Uncertainty is inevitable, but worrying is optional.

Me: But then, there is so much pain due to uncertainty. .

God : Pain is inevitable able, but suffering is optional.

Me: If suffering is optional, why do good people always suffer?

God : Diamond cannot be polished without friction. Gold cannot be purified without fire. Good people go through trials, but don't suffer. With that experience their life become better not bitter.

Me: You mean to say such experience is useful?

God : Yes. In every terms, Experience is a hard teacher . She gives the test first and the lessons afterwards.

Me: But still, why should we go through such tests? Why can't we be free from problems?

God : Problems are Purposeful Roadblocks Offering Beneficial Lessons (to) Enhance Mental Strength. Inner Strength comes from struggle and endurance, not when you are free from problems.

Me: Frankly in the midst of so many problems, we don't know where we are heading..

God : If you look outside you will not know where you are heading. Look inside. Looking outside, you dream. Looking inside, you awaken. Eyes provide sight. Heart provides insight.

Me: Sometimes not succeeding fast seems to hurt more than moving in the right direction. What should I do?

God : Success is a measure as decided by others. Satisfaction is a measure as decided by you. Knowing the road ahead is more satisfying than knowing you rode ahead. You work with the compass. Let others work with the clock.

Me: In tough times, how do you stay motivated?

God : Always look at how far you have come rather than how far you have to go. Always count your blessing, not what you are missing.

Me: What surprises you about people?

God : when they suffer they ask, "why me?" When they prosper, they never ask "Why me" Everyone wishes to have truth on their side, but few want to be on the side of the truth.

Me: Sometimes I ask, who am I, why am I here. I can't get the answer.

God : Seek not to find who you are, but to determine who you want to be. Stop looking for a purpose as to why you are here. Create it. Life is not a process of discovery but a process of creation.

Me: How can I get the best out of life?

God : Face your past without regret. Handle your present with confidence. Prepare for the future without fear.

Me: One last question. Sometimes I feel my prayers are not answered.

God : There are no unanswered prayers. At times the answer is NO.

Me: Thank you for this wonderful chat.

God : Well. Keep the faith and drop the fear . Don't believe your doubts and doubt your beliefs. Life is a mystery to solve not a problem to resolve. Trust me. Life is wonderful if you know how to live. " Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that took our breath away! "

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud



I wandered lonely as a Cloud
That floats on high o'er Vales and Hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd
A host of dancing Daffodils;
Along the Lake, beneath the trees,
Ten thousand dancing in the breeze.

The waves beside them danced, but they
Outdid the sparkling waves in glee: --
A poet could not but be gay
In such a laughing company:
I gazed -- and gazed -- but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude,
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the Daffodils.

by William Wordsworth

Friday, April 16, 2010

Kurt Vonnegut: Long Walk To Forever

They had grown up next door to each other, on the fringe of a city, near fields and woods and orchards, within sight of a lovely bell tower that belonged to a school for the blind.

Now they were twenty, had not seen each other for nearly a year. There had always been playful, comfortable warmth between them, but never any talk of love.

His name was Newt. Her name was Catharine. In the early afternoon, Newt knocked on Catharine's front door.

Catharine came to the door. She was carrying a fat, glossy magazine she had been reading. The magazine was devoted entirely to brides. "Newt!" she said. She was surprised to see him.

"Could you come for a walk?" he said. He was a shy person, even with Catharine. He
covered his shyness by speaking absently as though what really concerned him were far away--as though he were a secret agent pausing briefly on a mission between beautiful, distant, and sinister points. This manner of speaking had always been Newt's style, even in matters that concerned him desperately.

"A walk?" said Catharine.

"One foot in front of the other," said Newt, "through leaves, over bridges---"

"I had no idea you were in town," she said.

"Just this minute got in," he said.

"Still in the Army, I see," she said.

"Seven months more to go," he said. He was a private first class in the Artillery. His uniform was rumpled. His shoes were dusty. He needed a shave. He held out his hand for the magazine. "Let's see the pretty book," he said.

She gave it to him. "I'm getting married, Newt," she said.

"I know," he said. "Let's go for a walk."

"I'm awfully busy, Newt," she said. "The wedding is only a week away."

"If we go for a walk," he said, "it will make you rosy. It will make you a rosy bride." He turned the pages of the magazine. "A rosy bride like her--like her--like her," he said, showing her rosy brides.

Catharine turned rosy, thinking about rosy brides.

"That will be my present to Henry Stewart Chasens," said Newt. "By taking you for a walk, I'll be giving him a rosy bride."

"You know his name?" she said.

"Mother wrote," he said. "From Pittsburgh?"

"Yes," she said. "You'd like him."

"Maybe," he said.

"Can--can you come to the wedding, Newt?" she said.

"That I doubt," he said.

"Your furlough isn't for long enough?" she said.

"Furlough?" said Newt. He was studying a two page ad for flat silver. "I'm not on furlough," he said.

"Oh?" she said.

"I'm what they call A.W.O.L.," said Newt.

"Oh, Newt! You're not!" she said.

"Sure I am," he said, still looking at the magazine.

"Why, Newt?" she said.

"I had to find out what your silver pattern is," he said. He read names of silver patterns from the magazine. Albemarle? Heather?" he said. "Legend? Rambler Rose?" He looked up, smiled. "I plan to give you and your husband a spoon," he said.

"Newt, Newt--tell me really," she said.

"I want to go for a walk," he said.

She wrung her hands in sisterly anguish. "Oh, Newt--you're fooling me about being
A.W.O.L.," she said.

Newt imitated a police siren softly, and raised his eyebrows.

"Where--where from?"

"Fort Bragg," he said.

"North Carolina?" she said.

"That's right," he said. "Near Fayetteville--where Scarlet O'Hara went to school."

"How did you get here, Newt?" she said.

He raised his thumb, jerked it in a hitchhike gesture. "Two days," he said.

"Does your mother know?" she said.

"I didn't come to see my mother," he told her.

"Who did you come to see?" she said.

"You," he said.

"Why me?" she said.

"Because I love you," he said. "Now can we take a walk?" he said. "One foot in front of the other--through leaves, over bridges--"


They were taking the walk now, were in a woods with a brown-leaf floor.

Catharine was angry and rattled, close to tears. "Newt," she said, "this is absolutely crazy."

"How so?" said Newt.

"What a crazy time to tell me you love me," she said. "You never talked that way before." She stopped walking.

"Let's keep walking," he said.

"No," she said. "So far, no farther. I shouldn't have come out with you at all," she said.

"You did," he said.

"To get you out of the house," she said. "If somebody walked in and heard you talking to me that way, a week before the wedding--"

"What would they think?" he said.

"They'd think you were crazy," she said.

"Why?" he said.

Catharine took a deep breath, made a speech. "Let me say that I'm deeply honored by this crazy thing you've done," she said. "I can't believe you're really A.W.O.L., but maybe you are. I can't believe you really love me, but maybe you do. But--"

"I do," said Newt.

"Well, I'm deeply honored," said Catharine, "and I'm very fond of you as a friend, Newt, extremely fond--but it's just too late." She took a step away from him. "You've never even kissed me," she said, and she protected herself with her hands. "I don't mean you should do it now. I just mean that this is all so unexpected. I haven't got the remotest idea of how to respond."

"Just walk some more," he said. "Have a nice time."

They started walking again.

"How did you expect me to react?" she said.

"How would I know what to expect?" he said. "I've never done anything like this before."

"Did you think I would throw myself into your arms?" she said.

"Maybe," he said.

"I'm sorry to disappoint you," she said.

"I'm not disappointed," he said. "I wasn't counting on it. This is very nice, just walking."

Catharine stopped again. "You know what happens next?" she said.

"Nope," he said.

"We shake hands," she said. "We shake hands and part friends," she said. "That's what
happens next."

Newt nodded. "All right," he said. "Remember me from time to time. Remember how much I loved you."

Involuntarily, Catharine burst into tears. She turned her back to Newt, looked into the
infinite colonnade of the woods.

"What does that mean?" said Newt.

"Rage!" said Catharine. She clenched her hands. "You have no right--"

"I had to find out," he said.

"If I'd loved you," she said, "I would have let you know before now."

"You would?" he said.

"Yes," she said. She faced him, looked up at him, her face quite red. "You would have
known," she said.

"How?" he said.

"You would have seen it," she said. "Women aren't very clever at hiding it."

Newt looked closely at Catharine's face now. To her consternation, she realized that what she had said was true, that a woman couldn't hide love.

Newt was seeing love now.

And he did what he had to do. He kissed her.


"You're hell to get along with!" she said when Newt let her go.

"I am?" said Newt.

"You shouldn't have done that," she said.

"You didn't like it?" he said.

"What did you expect," she said--"wild, abandoned passion?"

"I keep telling you," he said," I never know what's going to happen next."

"We say good-by," she said.

He frowned slightly. "All right," he said.

She made another speech. "I'm not sorry we kissed," she said. "That was sweet. We should have kissed, we've been so close. I'll always remember you, Newt, and good luck."

"You too," he said.

"Thirty days," he said.

"What?" she said.

"Thirty days in the stockade," he said--"that's what one kiss will cost me."

"I--I'm sorry," she said, "but I didn't ask you to go A.W.O.L."

"I know," he said.

"You certainly don't deserve any hero's reward for doing something as foolish as that," she said.

"Must be nice to be a hero," said Newt. "Is Henry Stewart Chasens a hero?"

"He might be, if he got the chance," said Catharine. She noted uneasily that they had begun to walk again. The farewell had been forgotten.

"You really love him?" he said.

"Certainly I love him!" she said hotly. "I wouldn't marry him if I didn't love him!"

"What's good about him?" said Newt.

"Honestly!" she cried, stopping again. "Do you have any idea how offensive you're being? Many, many, many things are good about Henry! Yes," she said, "and many, many, many things are probably bad, too. But that isn't any of your business. I love Henry, and I don't have to argue his merits with you!"

"Sorry," said Newt.

"Honestly!" said Catharine.

Newt kissed her again. He kissed her again because she wanted him to.

They were now in a large orchard.

"How did we get so far from home, Newt?" said Catharine.

"One foot in front of the other--through leaves, over bridges," said Newt.

"They add up--the steps," she said.

Bells rang in the tower of the school for the blind nearby.

"School for the blind," said Newt.

"School for the blind," said Catharine. She shook her head in drowsy wonder. "I've got to go back now," she said.

"Say good-by," said Newt.

"Every time I do," said Catharine, "I seem to get kissed."

Newt sat down on the close-cropped grass under an apple tree. "Sit down," he said.

"No," she said.

"I won't touch you," he said.

"I don't believe you," she said.

She sat down under another tree, twenty feet away from him. She closed her eyes.

"Dream of Henry Stewart Chasens," he said.

"What?" she said.

"Dream of your wonderful husband-to-be," he said.

"All right, I will," she said. She closed her eyes tighter, caught glimpses of her
husband-to-be.

Newt yawned.

The bees were humming in the trees, and Catharine almost fell asleep. When she opened her eyes she saw that Newt really was asleep.

He began to snore softly.

Catharine let him sleep for an hour, and while he slept she adored him with all her heart.

The shadows of the apple trees grew to the east. The bells in the tower of the school for the blind rang again.

"Chick-a-dee-dee-dee," went a chickadee.

Somewhere far away an automobile started nagged and failed, nagged and failed, fell still.

Catharine came out from under her tree, knelt by Newt.

"Newt?" she said.

"H'm?" he said. He opened his eyes.

"Late," she said.

"Hello, Catharine," he said.

"Hello, Newt," she said.

"I love you," he said.

"I know," she said.

"Too late," he said.

"Too late," she said.

He stood, stretched groaningly. "A very nice walk," he said.

"I thought so," she said.

"Part company here?" he said.

"Where will you go?" she said.

"Hitch into town, turn myself in," he said.

"Good luck," she said.

"You too," he said. "Marry me, Catharine?"

"No," she said.

He smiled, stared at her hard for a moment, then walked away quickly.

Catharine watched him grow smaller in the long perspective of shadows and trees, knew that if he stopped and turned now, if he called to her, she would run to him. She would have no choice.

Newt did stop. He did turn. He did call. "Catharine," he called.

She ran to him, put her arms around him, could not speak.

_

Saturday, April 10, 2010

100% Perfect Girl by Haruki Murakami

One beautiful April morning, on a narrow side street in Tokyo's fashionable Harujuku neighborhood, I walked past the 100% perfect girl.

Tell you the truth, she's not that good-looking. She doesn't stand out in any way. Her clothes are nothing special. The back of her hair is still bent out of shape from sleep. She isn't young, either - must be near thirty, not even close to a "girl," properly speaking. But still, I know from fifty yards away: She's the 100% perfect girl for me. The moment I see her, there's a rumbling in my chest, and my mouth is as dry as a desert.

Maybe you have your own particular favorite type of girl - one with slim ankles, say, or big eyes, or graceful fingers, or you're drawn for no good reason to girls who take their time with every meal. I have my own preferences, of course. Sometimes in a restaurant I'll catch myself staring at the girl at the next table to mine because I like the shape of her nose.

But no one can insist that his 100% perfect girl correspond to some preconceived type. Much as I like noses, I can't recall the shape of hers - or even if she had one. All I can remember for sure is that she was no great beauty. It's weird.

"Yesterday on the street I passed the 100% girl," I tell someone.

"Yeah?" he says. "Good-looking?"

"Not really."

"Your favorite type, then?"

"I don't know. I can't seem to remember anything about her - the shape of her eyes or the size of her breasts."

"Strange."

"Yeah. Strange."

"So anyhow," he says, already bored, "what did you do? Talk to her? Follow her?"

"Nah. Just passed her on the street."

She's walking east to west, and I west to east. It's a really nice April morning.

Wish I could talk to her. Half an hour would be plenty: just ask her about herself, tell her about myself, and - what I'd really like to do - explain to her the complexities of fate that have led to our passing each other on a side street in Harajuku on a beautiful April morning in 1981. This was something sure to be crammed full of warm secrets, like an antique clock build when peace filled the world.

After talking, we'd have lunch somewhere, maybe see a Woody Allen movie, stop by a hotel bar for cocktails. With any kind of luck, we might end up in bed.

Potentiality knocks on the door of my heart.

Now the distance between us has narrowed to fifteen yards.

How can I approach her? What should I say?

"Good morning, miss. Do you think you could spare half an hour for a little conversation?"

Ridiculous. I'd sound like an insurance salesman.

"Pardon me, but would you happen to know if there is an all-night cleaners in the neighborhood?"

No, this is just as ridiculous. I'm not carrying any laundry, for one thing. Who's going to buy a line like that?

Maybe the simple truth would do. "Good morning. You are the 100% perfect girl for me."

No, she wouldn't believe it. Or even if she did, she might not want to talk to me. Sorry, she could say, I might be the 100% perfect girl for you, but you're not the 100% boy for me. It could happen. And if I found myself in that situation, I'd probably go to pieces. I'd never recover from the shock. I'm thirty-two, and that's what growing older is all about.

We pass in front of a flower shop. A small, warm air mass touches my skin. The asphalt is damp, and I catch the scent of roses. I can't bring myself to speak to her. She wears a white sweater, and in her right hand she holds a crisp white envelope lacking only a stamp. So: She's written somebody a letter, maybe spent the whole night writing, to judge from the sleepy look in her eyes. The envelope could contain every secret she's ever had.

I take a few more strides and turn: She's lost in the crowd.

Now, of course, I know exactly what I should have said to her. It would have been a long speech, though, far too long for me to have delivered it properly. The ideas I come up with are never very practical.

Oh, well. It would have started "Once upon a time" and ended "A sad story, don't you think?"

Once upon a time, there lived a boy and a girl. The boy was eighteen and the girl sixteen. He was not unusually handsome, and she was not especially beautiful. They were just an ordinary lonely boy and an ordinary lonely girl, like all the others. But they believed with their whole hearts that somewhere in the world there lived the 100% perfect boy and the 100% perfect girl for them. Yes, they believed in a miracle. And that miracle actually happened.

One day the two came upon each other on the corner of a street.

"This is amazing," he said. "I've been looking for you all my life. You may not believe this, but you're the 100% perfect girl for me."

"And you," she said to him, "are the 100% perfect boy for me, exactly as I'd pictured you in every detail. It's like a dream."

They sat on a park bench, held hands, and told each other their stories hour after hour. They were not lonely anymore. They had found and been found by their 100% perfect other. What a wonderful thing it is to find and be found by your 100% perfect other. It's a miracle, a cosmic miracle.

As they sat and talked, however, a tiny, tiny sliver of doubt took root in their hearts: Was it really all right for one's dreams to come true so easily?

And so, when there came a momentary lull in their conversation, the boy said to the girl, "Let's test ourselves - just once. If we really are each other's 100% perfect lovers, then sometime, somewhere, we will meet again without fail. And when that happens, and we know that we are the 100% perfect ones, we'll marry then and there. What do you think?"

"Yes," she said, "that is exactly what we should do."

And so they parted, she to the east, and he to the west.

The test they had agreed upon, however, was utterly unnecessary. They should never have undertaken it, because they really and truly were each other's 100% perfect lovers, and it was a miracle that they had ever met. But it was impossible for them to know this, young as they were. The cold, indifferent waves of fate proceeded to toss them unmercifully.

One winter, both the boy and the girl came down with the season's terrible inluenza, and after drifting for weeks between life and death they lost all memory of their earlier years. When they awoke, their heads were as empty as the young D. H. Lawrence's piggy bank.

They were two bright, determined young people, however, and through their unremitting efforts they were able to acquire once again the knowledge and feeling that qualified them to return as full-fledged members of society. Heaven be praised, they became truly upstanding citizens who knew how to transfer from one subway line to another, who were fully capable of sending a special-delivery letter at the post office. Indeed, they even experienced love again, sometimes as much as 75% or even 85% love.

Time passed with shocking swiftness, and soon the boy was thirty-two, the girl thirty.

One beautiful April morning, in search of a cup of coffee to start the day, the boy was walking from west to east, while the girl, intending to send a special-delivery letter, was walking from east to west, but along the same narrow street in the Harajuku neighborhood of Tokyo. They passed each other in the very center of the street. The faintest gleam of their lost memories glimmered for the briefest moment in their hearts. Each felt a rumbling in their chest. And they knew:

She is the 100% perfect girl for me.

He is the 100% perfect boy for me.

But the glow of their memories was far too weak, and their thoughts no longer had the clarity of fouteen years earlier. Without a word, they passed each other, disappearing into the crowd. Forever.

A sad story, don't you think?


Yes, that's it, that is what I should have said to her.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Stress

A lecturer, when explaining stress management to an audience,
Raised a glass of water and asked;
'How heavy is this glass of water?'

Answers called out ranged from 20g to 500g.

The lecturer replied, 'The absolute weight doesn't matter.
It depends on how long you try to hold it.
If I hold it for a minute, that's not a problem.
If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm.
If I hold it for a day, you'll have to call an ambulance.
In each case, it's the same weight, but the longer I hold it,
the heavier it becomes.'

He continued,
'And that's the way it is with stress management..
If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later,
As the burden becomes increasingly heavy,
We won't be able to carry on. '

'As with the glass of water,
You have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again.
When we're refreshed, we can carry on with the burden.'
'So, before you return home tonight, put the burden of work down.
Don't carry it home. You can pick it up tomorrow.

Whatever burdens you're carrying now,
Let them down for a moment if you can.'
So, my friend, Put down anything that may be a burden to you right now.
Don't pick it up again until after you've rested a while.

Here are some great ways of dealing with the burdens of life:

* Accept that some days you're the pigeon,
And some days you're the statue.

* Always keep your words soft and sweet,
Just in case you have to eat them.

* Always wear stuff that will make you look good
If you die in the middle of it.

* Drive carefully. It's not only cars that can be
"Recalled" by their maker.

* If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.

* If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again,
It was probably worth it.

* It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to be kind to others.

* Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time,
Because then you won't have a leg to stand on.

* Nobody cares if you can't dance well.
Just get up and dance.

* When everything's coming your way,
You're in the wrong lane.

* Birthdays are good for you.
The more you have, the longer you live.

* You may be only one person in the world,
But you may also be the world to one person.

* Some mistakes are too much fun to only make once.

* We could learn a lot from crayons...
Some are sharp, some are pretty and some are dull.
Some have weird names, and all are different colours,
but they all have to live in the same box.

*A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery
on a detour.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

happy


note to self:
i will take the time and effort
to do the things i love

The 10 Biggest Misconceptions We Learn in School

from: smilepanic.com

1) Einstein got bad grades in school Generations of children have been heartened by the thought that this Nobel Prize winner did badly at school, but they're sadly mistaken. In fact, he did very well at school, especially in science and maths. Jury explains this as being down to Americans interpreting Einstein's 4's as D's. Karl Kruszelnicki, however, explains that it was all to do with changes to the system of marking at Einstein's school (back in1896).



2) Mice like cheese While any young child could tell you this, any mice would (if they could speak rather than squeak) explain otherwise. It appears that mice enjoy food rich in sugar, as explained in the Times, as well as peanut butter and breakfast cereals. So a Snickers bar would go down much better than a lump of cheddar.



3) Napoleon was short He was actually around 5ft 7, completely average for the 18th/19th century.



4) Thomas Edison invented the light bulb. Edison invented a lot of things - in fact he's one of the most famous inventors of all time - but the light bulb wasn't one of them. What he did was develop a light bulb at the same time as the British man, Joseph Swan, who came up with it originally.



5) Lemmings throw themselves over cliffs to commit suicide Why do we have such negative opinions of lemmings? The poor old things are sometimes so desperate for food that they do, according to the BBC "jump over high ground into water", but they aren't committing group suicide. Paul Jury blames Disney for showing the lemmings doing this in an early nature film. They've been tarnished ever since.



6) Water flushes differently in different hemispheres No it doesn't. Sorry!



7) Humans evolved from apes Darwin didn't actually say this, but he's been misreported ever since. What he did say was that we, and apes, and chimpanzees for that matter, had a common ancestor, once, a long, long time ago.



8) Vikings had horns/helmets with horns. This may upset an awful lot of people, but it's pure myth. According to the Jorvik Centre, it appears that Vikings may have been buried with their helmets and with drinking horns. When they were dug up by the Victorians, they assumed that the helmets had horns.



9) Columbus believed the earth was flat He didn't, you know. He may not have known how big the world was, but he wasn't worrying about falling off the edge of it.



10) Different parts of the tongue detect different tastes You do have different taste buds on your tongue and some are more sensitive than others. But they aren't divided into perfect, easy-to-teach sections.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Music Economic Model = Fail


The problem is the economic model no longer works. Here's the quick and dirty process of how things like video games get made and consumed.

Create Data
Create Storage Medium
Put Data Onto Medium
Sell Medium

Let's take music for an example. The difference between recordings from the 20s and those of today is in the medium. Records had their costs based on several factors - materials, manufacturing labor and technology, distribution, and non-replicability.

Compare that to digital data - no materials, no manufacturing, nearly unlimited distribution, nearly unlimited replication. The only cost is the electricity consumed and the computer hardware which it runs through.

Why could record companies charge $20 for a CD fifteen or so years ago? Because you couldn't copy them, or make them yourself. Then people found ways to rewrite discs and to burn their own. Suddenly a CD of music costs mere cents for the discs themselves and the electricity to put data on them.

The costs of artists actually making art hasn't changed. The cost of distribution has dropped. The total cost of producing art has dropped as a result. Consumers simply will not continue to pay the old prices which no longer reflect current costs.

My proposed solution? Artists return to patronage systems. Video game developers are directly paid by gamers to develop their games. Musicians are directly paid to create new music. Cut out the corporate middle-men, send them packing. I'm sure they can find equally underhanded and money-grubbing employment elsewhere. Such as Wall Street.

~D. Walker

DRM Fail


From Cory Doctorow:

DRM has no connection with preventing piracy. Pirates download the DRM-cracked versions. DRM on music is there to reduce the rights that you get in copyright -- the right to play your music on a competitor's device, the right to sell or give away your music, and so on. These rights are enshrined in law, but DRM is a loophole to copyright law, since breaking DRM is prohibited even for people who are making otherwise lawful uses.

The reason people break DRM is that is makes unreasonable, unilateral incursions on your property rights: your right to lawfully enjoy the products you purchase, in lawful ways. The reason I celebrate breaks to DRM is that they show:

1. That the technical hypothesis that DRM will prevent piracy is ridiculous

2. That the public has the capacity to reassert its rights under law and practice and restore the reasonable social contract between creators and audiences

Saturday, February 20, 2010

We see the truth and forget it.

Art by Alex Colville

We see the truth and we forget it.
We hear the truth and we remember it.
We DO the truth and finally we understand it.
Are you willing to really understand?



no one falls in love by choice

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Saturday, January 16, 2010

stay or leave

Stay or leave
I want you not to go
But you should
It was good as good goes
Stay or leave
I want you not to go
But you did

So what to do
With the rest of the day's afternoon hey
Isn't it strange how we change
Everything we did
Did I do all that i should

That I coulda done

Remember we used to dance
And everyone wanted to be
You and me
I want to be too
What day is this
Besides the day you left me
What day is this
Besides the day you went

- Dave Matthews Band

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Great Explanation for TV Series - LOST

Found this in: http://www.lostaddictsblog.com/ written by Steve.
to Steve: you're a genius.


UPDATE: Now that the series has ended, here is The Idiot's Guide to Lost.

Let's go back to shortly after the turn of the Twentieth century, the days of Einstein and other early theoretical physicists. This was the dawn of the age of quantum mechanics, which provided new understanding and insight into physics at the sub-atomic level. New mathematics described the behavior of the tiny particles that make up all of matter in the universe. The math was clearly described in terms of numbers, symbols, formulas... however the application to nature as we know it was strange, weird, bizarre.

It was very difficult to wrap the human brain around many of the concepts of quantum mechanics, and the math alone was inadequate to explain the problems. Thus, physicists and mathematicians turned to "Gedanken Experiments," German for Thought Experiments. Applying the known concepts of quantum mechanics to situations in the "real world" allowed a conversation to take place in a way most anybody could (sort of) understand.

Before I lose you, here is an example. In the mathematics of quantum physics, time travel is THEORETICALLY possible. One of the most famous Gedanken Experiments is the Grandfather Paradox. If you could travel back in time, could you kill your grandfather? Logic tells you that no, you could not, for if you did, you would not exist. (Pause here and consider why Locke insists that "he can't" kill his father, he needs somebody else to do it.) The beautiful thing about Gedanken Experiments is that they are both scientific and philosophical, perfect fodder for a creative writer. In the case of the Grandfather Paradox, while they logic is clear, the actual experience of it is a mystery. Imagine actually standing there in the past, holding a loaded gun to the head of your grandfather... what would actually prevent you? "Something" would, some unknown mechanism of physics... and that is where the writers of "Lost" imagine for us.

"Lost" is a grand Gedanken Experiment, a test of science and philosophy. It asks the question, What if time travel were not only possible, but real, with technology developed in a manner as realistic and consistent with known theoretical physics as possible? And to make it even more dramatic, What if you could travel back in time, AND NOT KNOW IT? The passengers of Flight 815 have done exactly that, and the writers have made the audience go along with them, sharing the same sense of confusion and mystery.

Let's talk about what we know about time travel today. We are not talking about cheesy movies of the past, where one can travel back to the age of dinosaurs or the middle ages. In fact, in the "real" science of time travel, a few things are known by the constraints of physics and quantum mechanics.

There is a conceptual model of a real time machine, and it works something like this: A time machine must have two parts, essentially two portals, connected by a wormhole (or black hole or whatever you want to call it). Door #1 is built alongside Door #2. Door #1 is allowed to continue along the "present" timeline, while Door #2 is encapsulated in a bubble within space-time, thus separated from the present timeline. This would require a great amount of energy and technology obviously unknown today... but thanks to the writers of "Lost," it has been solved by Dharma Industries. The amount of separation would be only slight to begin with... say, 108 minutes. Since Door #1 exists in the present timeline, it can safely be located anywhere (Dharma headquarters?). Door #2, now operating in a different place in space-time, in the past, must be safely located in a remote location, for any type of interaction with it from the outside could be catastrophic.

There is a very important concept in time travel here, which is that you can NEVER travel back further in time than the creation of your time machine; Hence the impossibility of visiting the dinosaurs, etc. Now, if the two doors of your time machine were separated by only 108 minutes at the initial "event", but then allowed to just sit there, then both timelines would progress at the same pace, forever separated by only 108 minutes. Traveling to the past, but only by 108 minutes, would not be very interesting. Much more exciting would be to keep Door #2 back at the original time of its inception, while Door #1 continues to move forward in time. You could do this by continually "resetting" the clock on Door #2. Over time, the separation between the two doors would grow and grow, from minutes, to hours, to days, to years.

If you actually had the technology to achieve time travel in this manner, there are MANY profound questions you would have to test and answer in order to be confident that you could safely operate the time machine without catastrophically altering the future. The Grandfather Paradox is the most obvious, but actually only one of many questions.

ANSWER #1: What is the Dharma Initiative? It is the building and testing of a time machine, as described above. Door #1 is at the Dharma Headquarters, Door #2 is on the Island in the remote South Pacific.

The question isn't, Where is the Island? The question is, When is the Island? The answer to that depends on how long ago, in the present timeline, the time machine was created... approximately 14 years ago, I believe.

ANSWER #2: Why must the button be pushed every 108 minutes? This "resets"
the clock of Door #2 of the time machine, essentially holding it at the time of its inception in the relative past. If allowed to pass 108 minutes on the clock, then the time machine will lose the ability to reset itself. Why, then, must it be pressed by a person, and not just programmed to reset itself? This is because the controllers at Door #1 do not have control over Door #2 in the past, and should disaster strike, and nobody is left alive in the past at Door #2, it should be allowed to pass 108 minutes and no longer reset.

ANSWER #3: What happened when the clock was allowed to pass 108 minutes? Door #2 of the time machine lost the ability to reset, and will now continue to progress along a timeline into the future, locked at approximately 14 years separation from Door #1.

What are some of the other critical questions, like the Grandfather Paradox, that must be answered when considering time travel? Here is a great one:

What if a childless woman travels back in time and conceives a child?

ANSWER #4: A childless woman cannot travel to the past and conceive a child, because if she did, she would not have been a childless woman. In "Lost", both mother and child die before the birth, thus preserving the timeline and laws of nature. Perhaps the Others do not fully understand this, and brought in fertility doctor Juliet to see if they can overcome this obstacle.

Consider another:

What if a child travels back to a time before he or she was born? Perhaps nothing... but what if the child dies in the past, before being born? Again, impossible. ANSWER #5: The Others abduct children on the Island to protect them at all costs, for they cannot allow the catastrophic violation of the laws of nature of a child dying before being conceived.

And yet another:

If you travel to the past, will you be the "you" of the present timeline when you arrive, or the younger "you" of the past, or some combination of the two? I do not know, but I believe this offers insight into why John Locke can walk on the Island despite being paralyzed.

ANSWER #6: Locke can walk not because the Island has powers to cure, but because he has traveled back to a time BEFORE he was ever paralyzed. He is somehow a blend of the Locke of the present and the Locke of the past.

Who is Ben? I believe he is the creator of the time machine. The Others are his associates living in the time-space bubble around the Island and Door #2 of the time machine in the "past." They are managing it and testing the effects of time travel, and strictly controlling who exits this bubble into the outside world.

How does one arrive at the Island? There are two methods of traveling to the site (and time) of the Island. First is the controlled method via Door #1 at Dharma Headquarters. It is not via plane, submarine, or any other traditional method of transportation.

The other method is in the accidental collision with the time-space bubble that surrounds the Island, as happened with Oceanic Flight 815, the Portuguese woman's helicopter, etc. Despite the many theories that abound in online forums, the Others did not know that Flight 815 was coming or going to crash at the Island. It was a chance encounter. It was a disaster that created a paradox... what happens to a plane that crashes in the present, while entering the past? This leads to the question of whether the passengers are alive or dead, answered by talking about a cat.

Schrodinger's cat, to be specific. Again, quantum mechanics can be very strange. One of the strangest behaviors in particle physics is known as Superposition, which is the ability of a particle to occupy two different states simultaneously (like up and down, left and right, here and there, etc.). In the world we know, you cannot be both here and there, but in particle physics, a world of probability, chance, and duality, you can. How can one imagine this? Another great Gedanken Experiment was conceived, as follows:

Place a cat in a sealed, steel box, along with a bottle of poison. In addition, a radioactive element is placed within the steel box. The decay of this radioactive element triggers a hammer, which breaks the bottle, releasing the poison and killing the cat. For the observer, outside of the box, you do not know when this radioactive decay happens. Because of the laws of Superposition, the radioactive element can occupy both states simultaneously, for the briefest moment. For that blink in time, the bottle is both broken and intact... the cat is both dead and alive, at the same time. This is a puzzle of science, but more important perhaps is the philosophical question of what does it mean to be both dead and alive?

ANSWER #7: The passengers of Oceanic Flight 815 are dead at the bottom of the ocean. AND they are ALIVE on the Island. They are both dead and alive. I told you that you would love this one. Since they are alive in the "past" of the Island's timeline, can they return to the present in which they are dead? I guess that is the ultimate question that we will have to watch the show to find out.

A suggestion of an answer is found in Locke's/Sawyer's father. We were led to believe that he died in a car accident, and finds himself here on the Island. Of course he would think he's in hell! We believe that somehow Locke "willed" him here, but that was actually never said on the show. In fact, Ben said to Locke, "you brought him here." Perhaps what he means is this:

ANSWER #8: Locke's father did not die in the accident. I believe that we will find soon that Locke is going to leave the Island. The question that nobody asked Locke's father was when did the accident happen? See, Locke is going to return to the "present" timeline, and is going to pursue his father. He is going to find him, perhaps he is even going to cause his accident. He is going to drug and kidnap him, unable or unwilling to kill him by himself. He is somehow going to get him to Door #1 of the time machine and send him to the Island, where he already knows that Sawyer will kill him. Locke is going to "bring him here" to the Island... he just hasn't done it yet. When he is on the "outside" in the present, why is he going to do this? Because he has to, because it is destiny... for on the Island, it has already happened. You know Locke loves destiny.

I could go on and on. Why is there a zoo with polar bears?

ANSWER #9: The animals are on the Island for testing the effects of the various paradoxes associated with time travel. Perhaps another reason is that by keeping and preserving endangered animals, like polar bears, within this bubble in the past, there is a resource for their recovery should they become extinct in the future. Consider it a Noah's Ark.

How do the Others know so much about the passengers of Flight 815?

ANSWER#10: The Others have had perhaps years, with Dharma Industries in the present timeline at Door #1, to research each of the individuals, and transmit this information to the Island. To the audience and the survivors of 815, it seemed like the Others instantly knew about them. However, it likely required years of research to compile the files.

There are still mysteries that remain, and stories that we do not know how they will play out. With this explanation, though, the behavior of the Others is understood. They must protect the timeline AT ALL COSTS. That makes them seem evil to the survivors of 815, but in reality their intentions are to prevent catastrophe.

There are many other stories I haven't touched, but they are all consistent with this basic theory. This includes Desmond's apparent "time loop" he is experiencing, and many others.

So there it is. Or, I'm out of my mind. Time will tell.

Steve