Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Hypnotizing one's way out of a traffic ticket, and other shenanigans

My friend Rob, who has written such articles as Are you starring in your own Zombie apocalypse? , now has a short e-book for those who want to know how to get on the traffic cop's good side. Yes, it does involve hypnosis, but no, it's not as dramatic as what he is known best for.
` Speaking of which, we were recently at an open mike comedy show, on the day that both marijuana and marriage were made legal for any (adult) citizen of Washington, so there was plenty of comedic material. Even so, Rob warned, his biggest shot at making this audience laugh would involve hypnotizing them into it.

Yes, he decided to challenge himself to earning some respect as a hypnotist in this crowd, rather than just some guy who says he's a hypnotist. Although he hadn't slept the night before, and nearly every person who looked particularly prone to hypnosis had just left in a large crowd, he was determined to show them something.
` Most of the rest of the audience were stoned and/or comedians, unfortunately, the latter preferring to watch from an arm's length rather than subjecting themselves to an experience. In the back, however, was one girl who looked like a better subject.
` For posterity, I took some video of what ensued, and Rob uploaded a short clip of it onto YouTube. As you can see, she said that she had not successfully been hypnotized before, yet Rob seemingly had no problem (even though he was talking faster than he usually does).
` Although she kept trying to break out of 'trance', he had no problem directing her back in -- at which the audience collectively made small sounds of astonishment. Or so I assume. What do you think?

Unbeknownst to me, whilst recording this video, a certain comedian (whose birthday was that day) kept nodding into a 'trance' while Rob was hypnotizing this girl. Hence, the comedy night organizer said (farther along in my video): "You know what would be fantastic right now? Could you hypnotize Rumberg so that he can't get enough cock?"
` To which Rob replied, "I already have," which is a type of hypnotic suggestion in itself.

Even so, I thought that Rumberg was joking when he abruptly declared, "I want cock!" and then looked as though horrified into a loss of words. It turns out he was serious -- and infuriated to the point of hurling insults and even a plastic cup full of water in our direction.

Yes, really. (Too bad I didn't get that last part on video, although to be fair, we didn't expect it.) Judging from this experience, it should be no surprise to learn that attempting to hypnotize a police officer so blatantly would have even more disastrous results.

Indeed, subtlety is the key:

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Back from California...

I've been busy, needless to say. I have much to write, including about my trip. We collected Lou Ryan's dead mother's stuff into a moving truck, including her cats (which escaped from their crate along the way), and now we have a house full of much better furniture and other cool things, most of which remains unpacked.

Of course, this cost us a lot of money, we haven't been recompensated yet, Brianade moved out while we were gone, and we need help paying rent. Our last chance is nine days from now. Also, I have to go to court over some dumb stuff. So, that's what's going on in my life right now. Sorry I've been absent.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Vince Lynch interviewed Rob today!

I had hoped to complete a science post for today, but no can do -- I'll explain below. Today was exciting, nevertheless, I got to listen in as famous street hypnotist Vince Lynch interviewed my best friend/hypnotist Rob, for being one of those rare people who does street hypnosis.
` It's such a big friggin' deal that he conducted this interview at one in the morning, UK time, which is 5 pm here. If you've never heard of Vince Lynch, he's all over the YouTubes -- here's the first video I saw:

Anyway, he interviewed Rob via Skype about what Rob has done -- street hypnosis among a group of people smoking or even on stage -- and a bunch of other stuff, oh I don't even remember, as I could barely hear Vince.
` I wrote down in my blogging notebook about how Rob does it -- 'Frame control, making the hypnosis about the subject, step into their hologram, use ego hooks. Importantly, though, Rob can hypnotize anyone, and most hypnotists can't even do that. How does he do it? Because he starts off with set and setting, pacing and leading, and 90% of his work is done before he even says a word.
` In fact, his only real 'pre-talk' is, "Hey, I'm a hypnotist, who wants to see something cool?" Then he misdirects the volunteer by asking them superfluous questions (witch-doctoring) and that overloads their brain so that their critical factor is distracted and taken off-line just long enough for him to hack into the person's mind.
` Mua ha ha ha ha ha!, as they say.

[Edit: You can listen to the whole interview here on Lynch's website. Finally, I can hear Vince, as well as some weird background noises that I can't identify.
` Also, I've noticed that each time I listen to the podcast directly from the 'Robert Schryvers Interview' page, it suddenly stops playing and then the 'Luis Zevallos Interview' page loads up for no apparent reason. If the same thing happens to you, I've found that scrolling down and then listening to it from the list of podcasts, here, prevents that.]

I should also mention that after the interview, Vince was wondering why Rob isn't rich and famous already. He should be, considering his skills -- I bet even Igor Ledochowski isn't able to hypnotize everyone he tries to!
` Then, Rob taught me how to do a handshake interrupt -- first, you misdirect ('witch-doctor') the person by getting them to stand a certain way (compliance), ask them which hand they use, then get them to start to shake your hand, then grab the hand a certain way (with your other hand) and turn it towards their face.
` Once you have the person's gaze fixed on "the hand" (calling it "the" causes dissociation), mention how their eyes are becoming unfocused and tell them to close their eyes, tap the back of the neck and say "sleep".
` If done right, the person is so focused on the sound of your voice that they will fall right into you and you have to tell them to stay on their feet.

As for why I'm not doing a science post, well, as soon as I got home, I knew exactly what article I was going to complete. I had over an hour, my headspace was just right, which is very rare.
` I moved the radiator into my office so as to make it less freezing cold and then had myself a snack. Fifteen minutes later, my office was warm enough to enter without a winter coat. I went straight to my computer and began finishing the article.

And then... it happened.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Unidentified Flying Insects flit across the sky over Denver!

It is of utmost importance that people across the nation get a chance to see the strange, suspiciously moth-like crafts which wing their way over Colorado! Hence, CNN made this video:

An aviation expert can't identify them because what they need is an insect videographer. Couldn't you just choke on the fluff?

I'd have thought up more to put in this post, but dammit... First, I thought I'd be blogging more today because I made plans to, but then I wound up distancing myself from someone who wanted to see me today, and now I'm occupied with them anyway because they're begging me to see them. (You know, because I'm that awesome to hang out with.)


If only everyone had a true friend, then even the people I don't like won't want to steal me so much. Creeps.

This video reminds me of my own friendships -- we're all the ones who were not like the other children.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Proposition: A post every four days

Of late, I've been out and about and not very focused on blogging, especially actual science blogging. I'm writing a science fiction novel, that's why. However, I need to do research for my novel, which I can write about here, so that's how that fits in.

I'm thinking, though, that I may have to post about every four days that I have both internet access and quietness, because I don't, always. And it's not just the leaf blowers:

To give an example, I've been gone for most of the past two days and am about to be off again -- to the post office to mail an important letter (certified), to the gym of course, and then onto Bremerton to visit Wesley the Atheist Nomad, and perhaps interview him for my own podcast.

Oh, that's another thing I've been doing. So yes, I've had to restructure my activities quite a bit. Tomorrow I'll be home more than today, so I'll see how well it all works.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Flying from Houston to Cleveland

So, in the previous post, I was mentioning coming upon some clouds -- these are them, above some straggling canyons.

oct 096
Ahh, the beauty of erosion!

I studied the landscape, the many water towers, the school bus yard, etc. but thought the scene was a bit boring for photographing. Then again, that may have something to do with the fact that in Mukilteo there had been perhaps one day of clouds/rain since July, and it's been blazing hot and dazzling for such a while. Hooray for droughts!

Right away, I had to get to another United dock, and would you know it, it was all the way on the other side of the airport and I didn't have the longest time to get there! Luckily, they had this:

oct 098

Which way are we gonna go?

oct 099

Hi, people in the other shuttle!

oct 101

Back inside again:

oct 103

Once again, I didn't see much that was spectacular until I got up above the clouds and saw a most delicious-looking ripple.
oct 105

When I got away from that cloud, I saw these tasty-looking rivers, and thought; this must be what Caladan looks like!

oct 106
No I didn't.

And look at this cute lil' ol' power plant! Couldn't you just pinch it?

oct 108 - Factory seen from plane
Resistance to pollution is futile!

Lehrk, ehrmagehrd, it's anerther Yehr-Erf-Erh! Alehrens!

This one's shiny!

The clouds began to look like fields full of pink and blue cotton candy, just out there waiting to be harvested with a really big wooden fork.

oct 110
Either that, or it looks like particularly appetizing fiberglass insulation.

Eventually, the metal tube began heading for a hole in the clouds known as Cleveland.

oct 112
They poke a hole every now and again.

Ah, the orange-pink glow of sodium street lamps! Took me a few minutes to figure out why some of them appeared to be twinkling:

Finally, it hit me -- I blame the trees!


That was nearly fun enough to get me through the tremendously long time I had to wait just to get off the plane. I made a few phone calls and text messages, and my mom and grandma were waiting long before I even had room to get out of my row.
oct 118
Luckily, I was the only one lugging my luggage and so didn't have to wait for anyone else to do that.

The three of us went to a restaurant, where I had crepes and was hilariously awkward. You had to be there. My mom wasn't feeling well at the moment to be hilarious, and my grandma brought her own tea bag, but I was the only one really trying to be funny.
` When we got back to her house in Medina, it was just the way I'd remembered it all those years ago. I tried to do a little tour of the photomagraphs around her house, but in the intrests of the Flickr Time Limit, I rushed it a bit.

Then I got a shot of the shelves in the living room, also with photos and some knicknacks -- because pictures of pictures are just that awesome!

Didn't have time for much else, though, went to bed at 9:30 Ohio Time (which is 6:30 Washington Time) and woke up 13 hours later. What all had changed about the world in that time? Find out next time!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Flying From Seattle to Houston

October 7, 2012:

Before five in the morning, I was already stuffing previously-selected clothing into my camping backpack which Dilly playfully swatted, climbed up on, and fell down off of, just as she had done in July -- although less small and cute this time.
` Gem of a man that he is, Lou Ryan was helping me along, drove me to the airport, and kissed me goodbye. With only a mocha cappuccino protein drink in my stomach, I made jokes about smuggling parakeets in my pants and still managed to walk right through the backscatter X-ray scanner.
` I wondered to myself if they had scanned me anyway, and if so, was my hot bod appreciated?

I spent my time texting Brian and Rob about what was going on in the airport, the cloud of starlings billowing up on the side of the building, etc. By the time we got to boarding, the sun was just rising above the trees:

oct 046 - Sunrise at airport
Or was it... aliens?

The United staff were actually looking for volunteers to get off the plane in exchange for round trip tickets to anywhere the airline flies. Despite this good deal, I did not perceive that anyone took up the offer.

At last, I made it into the metal tube, which then hurtled itself into the air:

oct 047

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Picturesque prelude to my vacation Back East

Whatever the noise is that was driving me crazy (see last post), it's subsided enough that I've been able to put together another photo post, as well as continue writing fiction. Yes, I've been branching out quite a bit!

Before I get started on the photos from my recent trip, I have some more lovely picturesque subjects such as the busy beachside, three skittish cats, and bees knocking one another over to get at one of my neighbor's passion flowers:

oct 027

But, I'm getting ahead of myself.

The beginning of October brought bright, crisp mornings with glistening spider webs and ivy flowers budding like pale green mutant jacks:

oct 003
It's too late, they've already populated the world.

They aren't the only thing of interest near the deck, besides the bald patch in the grass marking where the chicken coop had been torn down for no reason at all. More visually interesting, however, are the kiwis that will never ripen, hanging like so many fuzzy aborted fetuses:

Friday, October 19, 2012

Thanks, single-pane aluminum windows!

As you may guess, I have a bunch of posts to write, and many drafts there's many drafts waiting in the archives over the past couple of months. I'm not able to probably won't be finishing any of them for a while, much less getting a writing job, until a house nearby is finished being built, or whatever this noise is. It's loud all day and I have to stay here for Lou Ryan's sake, as his mom just died and all.

Well, I've spent about a half hour struggling to write just this far. That's enough aggravation for today. I'm going to I'm going to do something productive, away from the house.

Edit: I've just taken a two-hour walk in the rain to find the source of the noise. It is either downhill to the west or downhill to the east, and it's echoing from uphill. I can't tell what it is at all, other than that it sounds a bit like a lawnmower and it's the only sound I can hear with my earplugs in.
` Not so much because of its volume, but that's just the frequency that can get thru my earplugs better than other frequencies. Like when I was on the plane, the engines were so loud I couldn't hear what other people were saying around me until I put on my earplugs, which blocked out the higher-pitched sounds of the engines.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Awesome news and sad news:

Awesome news first: Just spent a week "back east" in Ohio and West Virginia, complete with beautiful fall foliage, and got to visit relatives I really like, as well as my grandmother, for whom I feel so sorry due to her neurotic anxiety. During that time, Brianade went missing for one day, so that was also a bit exciting.
` The day after I got home, I also survived a most colorful adventure on a most gloomy day -- as the three-month drought seems to be over -- transporting a project motorcycle in the rain.

Now the sad news: Lou Ryan's mother's brain just died. She only has a breathing reflex, because during a medical procedure, about a pint of blood got loose in her head and drowned her brilliant neural network.

june 2133 Her first try! 
She was a great mother, math professor, and beginning shooter.

This is especially bad, since she was also helping us to buy the house, for which we just had to tear down the chicken coop for no reason in order to placate those blasted landlords and their lies.
` Just as we thought that ordeal was over (and it just happened to be an ordeal), we're wondering if we'll be able to keep the house after all.

As for me, I've been looking for writing jobs and have been straightening up my office, as I had rearranged the furniture before leaving on my trip. My office looks better than it ever has, despite still being a small bit messy.
` I was also just getting back into one of my Great Courses, which I had bought last Christmas -- and no sooner did I get 15 minutes in, then Lou came into my quasi-mess and parked himself for a half hour, until I was too sleepy to continue with the video lecture (as I'm still on Eastern Standard Time).

While this kind of interruption happens often, he was mostly talking about the consequences of his mother dying and all, so I didn't think it was right to ask him to give me my space this time. This paid off, too, as he came up with a good idea:
` Since she is technically still "alive", Lou's now telling his lawyer brother (who's at the hospital in California) to sign up as her guardian so that he can disperse her money tax-free before her heart stops.

Her name was Charlene, but I called her "MathMom", because she was always there over the phone to help get me through my college math classes. On her most recent visit this past June, she bought us our gray fluffball, Dilly, as well as the sandals that I wore to The Amazing Meeting.
` You can hear and sort-of see her in this video where Dilly indulges in falling backwards off of a piece of furniture (that's not me giggling, BTW):


I didn't know Charlene extremely well, but I can say she was very nice and patient and cool, much like my own mom, whom I was just visiting and feel all the more fortunate to have. She also did much to protect her sons from their crazy and abusive dad, who is still alive and spiteful for no real reason.
` Two of the things Crazy Dad did was pretend to pay Lou's college loan and instead let it lapse so that Lou's credit would suffer, and also didn't forward the letter to Lou about the six-figure job waiting for him after college.
` Thanks to him and a bunch of other cheating bastards, Lou is still struggling to make ends meet, and wouldn't even have this house if it weren't for his mom. And so, if it were Lou's dad that had died, we wouldn't be in this mess, nor would we even be sad.

Why is it that the best people seem to die before the asshats? Here's to Charlene, one of the best people I've ever met!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Nine years of numbness reversed with hypnosis

As I've mentioned in a previous post, hypnosis has been instrumental in helping me to overcome a dismaying numbness that my mind had created. And yet, how many people actually understand what hypnosis is? After all, some people seem to think it's just a way to make someone your zombie slave, while others say it's only an act.
` Of course, psychologists generally consider hypnosis to be a tool that can be used to change a person's perceptions, and which has a number of therapeutic and research applications. In this article I will cover only a few relevant hypnosis phenomena.

I had no real understanding of hypnosis until 2001, when I read a Scientific American article on the subject.  It explained that, while the Greek hypnos does mean 'sleep', one must contrarily be highly focused and alert in order to experience hypnosis. Although relaxation is commonly associated with hypnosis, I also learned that it can be induced while vigorously pedaling a stationary bike.
` The article covered some of the famous landmark experiments, such as blocking out the pain of plunging one's hand into a bucket of icewater. Part of it even covered the staff writers being hypnotized and made to experience such things as their hand seeming to 'levitate' by itself, and even the hallucination of a fly buzzing by one's ear.

Notably, at that point in time I was already recovering from a lifetime of post-traumatic stress disorder, and had thought that life could only get better from there. That all changed about two years later, when I experienced an even more traumatic incident than I could have imagined to be possible.
` After a long and astonishingly shocking ordeal, I couldn't remember who I was or even what I used to be like. Unfortunately, I had been wrongly prescribed several drugs, one of which caused my flashbacks to become increasingly vivid and more easily triggered, among other extremely terrifying, frustrating and embarrassing effects.

The panic attacks were soon joined by the alien feeling of "numb spots", one of them on my tongue where it touches the roof of my mouth. These spots would start out small, then spread, then slowly shrink again. One day, mental images of the terror were triggered so strongly that these spots expanded and multiplied, spreading from my fingers to my toes, and even my eyeballs.
` My neurologist advised that I was probably just hyperventilating, and that recovery was as simple as breathing into a paper bag. As it wasn't, I went to the emergency room, where precisely nothing was found to be wrong, other than these bizarre complaints.

Inevitably, I turned to The Mental Health Community For Poor People, where I was told that such experiencing of flashbacks meant that I was undeserving of treatment. I was shut out of therapists' offices when it was time for my appointment, was made to sing campfire songs with schizophrenics, and dozens of other surreal situations.
` This institutional abuse continued long after I'd moved to the West Coast and found myself thoroughly combing a mental hospital crowded with pungent hobos in the hopes that one of the jaded employees could or would help me.
` There, I could spend ten minutes telling someone about how some medication was so incredibly damaging to me, only to be shocked by the immediate response of, "Let me write you a prescription" for the exact same drug. Of course, if I didn't take it, that only meant I was too insane to know better.

For many years, I futilely complained about this absurd dance, yet some people told me to let these hack interns do the thinking and observing for me. Some others, however, encouraged me to escape this labyrinthine Morton's Fork.
` After all, a friend of mine told me that she had developed the same symptoms from a traumatic event and eventually recovered from them when she was sure that she was "ready to feel again." Therefore, it must be possible to recover from such a thing, right?
` By 2007, it was becoming clear to me that psychology classes and books had been far more useful to my well-being than talking to someone who thinks that 'being objective' means ignoring their subject. I was already doing most of my own mental health improvement, but would that be enough to resolve this particular difficulty? Was there any way at all?

A pivotal moment in class was learning of a malady called conversion disorder -- as in a "conversion" of anxiety into a bizarre deficit such as numbness, deafness, blindness, fits, paralysis, etc. Although it could last for years, I was relieved to know that it could be reversed with such treatments as explaining what causes the symptoms.
` Doubts kept nagging me about this, as I had already believed that an unconscious unwillingness to feel had caused this deficit all along, and five years had not been long enough to resolve it. Then again, I was still living in fairly stressful conditions, so perhaps the anxiety was staving off my courage to face this difficulty.

I didn't know it yet, but that class also taught me a potential solution -- and now we are back to hypnosis. This text is actually based on my abbreviated notes from a class lecture on the subject:
Hypnosis is when your attention is highly focused and you allow someone else to guide you through some inner experience. It can help to alter one's perception to the point that one can have surgery under hypnosis and not feel pain. [More on that shortly.]
When subjects are hypnotized to see the color on a pattern 'drain away', the color-processing areas of their brains 'turn off', and they report that the color has gone away. When they are given a suggestion to see color on a black-and-white version of the pattern, those areas of the brain activate despite having no color to process. [See Kosslyn 2000].
From this and other examples, I learned that hypnotism was powerful enough to alter one's subjective experience dramatically, and had made a connection between it and my condition. I might have actually pursued this line of thinking if I hadn't spent most of my college years living in continually overwhelming "survival situations" (which is why I don't recommend living in run-down conditions with assorted whack-jobs...).
` It wouldn't be until my return from The Amaz!ng Meeting 2012, after the insanity (and police visits) had a chance to drain away from my life, that I met an actual hypnotherapist. His entire job is to help people change their less-than-useful perceptions and various bad habits, or, as he puts it, "telling them to just stop doing that."

I had long assumed that a seemingly unconscious decision to not feel is actually a bad habit, so if that was my issue, he might know how to help. Then again, if this was just a habit, then why couldn't I seem to just stop doing that after almost nine years?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Rebecca Watson on evolutionary psychology and... rape culture?

August 9th was the day that I finally regained (whatever that means) the sensation in various of my bodily parts (...whatever that means) after blocking it out (whatever... never mind).

What do I mean, here?

I mean that Rob Schryvers, master hypnotist (whatever *that* means) is really cool. Go bug him and be swept away in his hypnotic patter of doom. And by doom, I mean, see how cool this parrot is?

july 805

He's cooler than that. Really.

The next day, whilst carpooling to a Skeptic's meetup at Piecora's Pizza, Rob pointed out a freakishly-muscled man walking down Pine Street -- it was apparently UK champion bodybuilder Dorian Yates! He's an unusual sight here, although not exactly out of place on a sidewalk where half the people we saw looked very L, G, B or T.
` At this event would be the only Skeptic's Guide to the Universe Rogue that I hadn't met -- the very snarky Rebecca Watson. (Let's not forget Perry, the one I can't meet, who used to have the best bird vs. monkey debates with her!)

july 809
She's normally more brightly-colored and in-focus, but perhaps that was just the medication?

We were motioned to Piecora's front entrance by diners seated behind a set of sealed doors, and found the Skeptic's meetup in the back, by another sealed door. (Little did I know, we would be trapped, foreverrrr... or not.)
` Rebecca was standing by a table of Skepchick swag, greeting folks as they came in, so I introduced myself and told her that "Evan says 'Hi.'"

He did actually tell me to say that. And she actually seemed to think that was funny.

I didn't loiter too long, in fear of saying something stupid, so I went on into the sizeable, table-filled room that appeared to once have been an entire shop. Yes, we were meeting there specifically because she drew in such a large audience!
` In between stuffing my face with delishus salad and pizza, I got to brag about how last month's Skeptic Meetup cool hypnotist headliner helped me to control the level of sensation in my fingertips that I had been not-feeling for nine years. Can't let that stuff stay that way, you know?

This meeting was particularly interesting and quotable, but unfortunately, I had left my blogging notebook in a different bag o'stuff, and didn't find any other paper. Instead, I shall use both my memory and Case's description of what was on for that night from the Meetup website:

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Tale of the Mysterious Rodent -- Solved!

Around eleven in the evening on June 29th, Lou Ryan and I were headed out the doors of a grocery store when I noticed a small gathering of young-looking folks nearby, watching a small animal prance back and forth.
` It appeared to be a tailless rat, but something (besides this one girl) told me that it was something else. Perhaps a marmot? My first clue that it was neither would have to be the tail -- clearly hairless, short and pointed, like a hamster's. When it stood up on its hind legs and sniffed at me from only a few feet away, I noticed how bizarrely tiny its eyes were.

Here's my own rendering of what I had seen, only fluffier
(also, it's in a world where leaves hover in the air and lighting schemes don't make sense).

For wild rodent behavior, this was strangely... friendly... if I may use an oxymoron that should never catch on. Suspecting that rabies were afoot, my heart began to thud for a moment -- but I couldn't pull myself away -- never before had I seen such disproportionately small eyes on a rodent.
` Shrews, yes, but rodents are quite distinct from shrews (for one thing, rodents have massive incisors for gnawing on plants, whereas a shrew has a great many pointed teeth for catching insects).

Meanwhile, Lou Ryan teased me from the parking lot whilst I explained to the others that this was probably a little-known native rodent (perhaps related to pocket gophers), and that it was now mandatory that I figure out what it was -- and blog about it!

After getting caught up in TAM, I realize it's been a couple of months, so let's get on that after the page break...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Amazing developments since The Amazing Meeting

Do I ever have an article to write. For the first time in nine years, I've regained control over the amount of sensation that I feel in various parts of my body, which I'd been blocking out due to trauma all this time.

I have also stopped grinding my teeth while asleep and no longer need to wear one of those stupid (and expensive) mouth guards. How?

On the very first day after returning from TAM, I went to the Skeptic's Meetup where the speaker was Robert Schryvers, a very skilled hypnotist, who talked about what he does as a hypnotherapist, and then made up a stage routine on the spot for our amusement.
` We became fast friends and he's been teaching me how to do what he does, and has helped me shift my beliefs and emotions concerning mental blocks such as serious traumas so that I don't experience the symptoms.
` Because these things really are all in my head, I can control it far more than I had thought, and he's showing me how. Now I'm able to use what I know to help others in their daily struggles, just by talking to them and asking certain questions.
` Amazingly, I got my grandma to open up to me and then help her, which I never expected to be able to do. What else can I do through the power of influence?

Check out his website, West Seattle Hypnosis, and look at the specific words and language patterns used therein -- you'll find they are quite... hypnotic. OHNOEZ!!

As for me, other than spending a lot of time working on such things and learning the psychological tricks of the trade, I've also been out of the house a great deal and cleaning it when I'm in, working on a podcast and other projects (no spoilers!), and lying flat on my back/swimming in Puget Sound whenever the heat kills my brain so much that I can't talk intelligently.

Three days ago, the weather became much cooler, but I've still been hanging out with neighbors, cleaning, and organizing my office pretty much the entire time, rather than blogging. I should have more time now, although I'll be helping to build a chicken coop onto the side of my house starting at 9 tomorrow morning, and then afterwards not even being home, so don't expect a huge post tomorrow.
` Soon, yes, but not exactly tomorrow.

Anyway, do check out Rob's site. That's all for now.

Later: I've had to make several small edits -- because I needed to spend more of my time blogging! Right? Or I would have got it right the first time!
` And I would have made most of them earlier if someone hadn't barged into my office, crying over some completely insane shit happening to him, and then some sort of weird pseudo-landlady/insurance agent shitstorm knocked on our door, and then I had to scan some documents to help bail us out, then spent five minutes thinking that I was being yelled at for doing it wrong when I was only being thanked, meanwhile my Windows update stealthily turned off my computer for ten minutes... SRSLY?

WTF is wrong with people? Windows is easy to explain, but people will always be incomprehensible to me. Here I'd thought I had escaped the craziness -- but one never really does, do they?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

These are a few of my favorite critters

Besides studying hypnosis and such, what else has the Mad Science Writer been up to, besides not writing science enough lately to deserve the title?
` Well, for all the words that photos are worth, each one takes very little time to process, so I bring you once again some photos and videos of some interesting things, as well as Vada, my plant-predating feline:

july 673

Here's something I don't watch every day -- the road crew re-surfacing our street! Tar and gravel does not equal asphalt, but it is cheaper!

That was very early this August, but this post stretches on for longer than a whole week, and does deal with more than just my cats:

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Rest of July, After TAM...

After waking up from my 16-hour post-TAM sleepfest, life began to resemble normalcy -- if you consider kittens who can't get enough of playing with socks in laundry baskets to be normal.

 july 600 - Home from Vegas, playing with Dilly

However, most other things that signify 'normal' for my life began to change later on, when I went to the Skeptic's Meetup.
` "Who wants to sit next to me?" I announced.
` A man sitting in the corner pointed to the bench next to him. He was Robert Schryvers, hypnotist extraordinaire, and he was about to do a presentation. But not before I got to stand up and talk about how much fun I had at The Amazing Meeting and then told everyone to read my blog because I was going to write all these posts about it.

The Skeptics should already be aware of the fact that hypnosis can be used to fabricate false memories, for example, of being sexually abused by one's family members, which sometimes results in those families being destroyed, friends and neighbors turning their backs, and innocent people going to prison.
` Other common false memories that are induced by hypnotic suggestion include abuse in satanic rituals, alien abduction, and experiences of a past life (which are often then found to come from the person's knowledge -- accurate or not -- in this life).

Of course, hypnosis, when used properly, can be a very powerful therapeutic modality:

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Camping On Whidbey Island - a little trip from before TAM

I wrote most of this post before going off to TAM, but couldn't post it because some of the videos refused to upload until after I got back from TAM. Hence, I'm posting this now.
I believe it was July 7 when Lou Ryan and I had a camping reason to head down to the dock and actually get into one of those boats that we see all the time.
` It has been a while since I've heard the loudspeaker announcement from inside the ferry, as well as the nice view of the Cascades, with the seagulls trying to keep up and checking us out:

Then I went out onto the deck to precariously look up at the seagulls from below, and found that video of seagulls is much easier to get than still photos:

While out there, I couldn't help but notice the Cathlamet ferry passing by the other way:

july 119

I even managed to get a fairly decent photo of a seagull from below:

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Amazing Meeting 2012, The Journey Home

This one's been long in coming, only because I've been so involved in other activities, and have some really frickin' exciting news. Which I'm saving 'til next time.
` First, this post, because I was supposed to finish this last week and found things other than sitting in front of my computer more important. Since it's been so long, my memory isn't the greatest, and so the epic photos from the plane will have to tell most of the story:

Monday, July 16, 2012:

It was only the previous day that I had learned of the hotel's free shuttle to the airport, so I packed up my stuff, said goodbye to Leonard, checked out of the hotel, and found myself waiting side-by-side with Rich, one of the TAM-goers I'd had huge amounts of conversation.
` We were talking about this and that, and wondering if we'd missed the last shuttle, when Hyunwoo, which I recall from the Cards Against Humanity game, pulled up in a rental mustang and offered us a ride. Lucky us!I crammed myself into the tiny backseat quite nicely.

TAM 290 - In the back of Hyunwoo's rental Mustang

The car's GPS got us to the airport without a glitch, where Rich and I got our boarding passes, took our shoes off and all for BagScanning time, carried on a TAM-related conversation with one of the airport employees by the screens that have all the flights listed, and went up to the general vicinity where our planes would be leaving -- yes, there are slot machines there as well, as you can see:

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Amazing Meeting 2012, Day Five

Sunday, July 15, 2012:

Being that the sun was about to come up as I had drifted off to sleep, I didn't bother going to see the Sunday Papers, curated by Ray Hall, which featured work by Martha Keller, Ivan Alvarado, Dave Gamble, Eran Segev, Jeffrey Rosky and Christine Shellska.
` Sorry guys, but neuro-rest (a much-hyped form of rest called 'sleep') is more important, although I've found a sort of outline of the Papers on The Skeptical Abyss, which includes some of the other things that I both missed and didn't miss, for your convenience!

At 10:00 I remember coming in for The Truth About Alternative Medicine, with Steve, as well as Harriet Hall, David Gorski and Rachael Dunlop, but didn't stay long.

TAM 236 - Another panel

Instead, I found that being out in the hallway discussing where 'musk' candy flavoring comes from was far more interesting. (I'm not wrong -- it was more exciting than the panel!)
` On top of that, it would appear that Leo's sexy Swedish-British accent will grace the Skeptic Zone at some point...

[Edit: You can hear it yourself in Episode 207 at the 13:34 mark!]

Although I'd already been interviewed by Maynard for some time, we did another, very short, interview about how TAM has been going so far -- with him reading between the lines the whole way.
` Soon enough, I was back in the Ballroom at 11:15 for Carrie Poppy of Oh No, Ross and Carrie!, the podcast where Ross and Carrie go into the realm of woo and actually pretend to be the very sort of people that they study -- such as Raelians!

` This time, her lecture was:

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Amazing Meeting 2012, Day Four (part 2)

I was still in the TAM hall, sitting by James Randi (resting, not bugging him), when I saw SinGar the goat demon once again. Someone came by and offered to take a picture, and they did, but for whatever reason they mostly got the blank wall, so you cannot see SinGar's goat legs (which are put on the right way around this time!).

TAM 204

Of course, even SinGar has to ask for James Randi's autograph!

TAM 205

And that is only our starting point this time, boys and girls...

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Amazing Meeting 2012, Day Four (part 1)

Saturday, July 14, 2012:

As you can probably guess, I didn't get much sleep between sunrise and 8:00, but I did show up for Ben Radford's talk, Doomsdays and 2012 Mayan Prophecy.
` Apparently, not only did the Mayans not think that this year would be the last, and not only were there other calendars which 'end' in different years, but they actually referred to dates that were decades and even centuries after the year 2012.
` But who cares what they thought, anyway? It's not as though anyone would be able to predict the end of the world -- plus, everyone who's tried so far has failed, as no one seems to have noticed the world ending!

 TAM 173 - Ben Radford

If you would like to learn more about this subject, and what his talk was like, he wrote an article about it in Alibi, which I thought was really informative. But wait, there's more:

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Amazing Meeting 2012, Day Three (part 2)

I will not add much text to this post, as it largely consists of videos to begin with, and those are enough to keep one occupied. Also, since I know that since there may be children wanting to look at this post, especially ones who don't like swear words, I will give fair warning of this. (No, really, I will.)

Although the buffet was preferable, at this hour the Steak and Shake was the only place open, so Leonard and I got a salad (which took at least 20 minutes) and brought it upstairs to the TAM hall, where there was a huge line waiting around to get into Penn Jillette's Rock n' Roll Doughnut and Bacon Party.
` After eating said salad, and stupidly trying to clean up oil with water, as Leo pointed out, I discovered that the line was just for donations/T-shirts. No point in waiting in that line! I didn't even particularly want a T-shirt, but since I had already donated 25$ previous to coming to TAM, I got to grab one anyway and headed in.

The electrical kept shorting out around this time, but I ran into the same Swedish guy and he showed me the money -- not as much as it looks, but it has an ant on it, and Linnaeus. Also, I start talking into my camera again a lot, which is really trippy, and then continue to speak like a normal humon:

I do like to put my camera down, but not the whole time, as you'll see, but first, here's a description of this party from Penn, in which he talks about how much cool stuff is going to be happening, and how he's going to be singing badly and swearing and saying bad things about religion and stuff:

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Amazing Meeting 2012, Day Three (part 1)

This post is so big and packed with photos and videos that I broke the evening chunk, with Penn's Rock 'n Roll Doughnut and Bacon Party, off into another post. Just so you don't think I'm cheating you.

Friday, July 13, 2012:

Being Friday the 13th and all, there was a Friggatriskadekaphobia Treatment Center this morning, but I preferred to sleep in until 7:30, when I got up to go see the first Skeptic's Guide To The Universe live recording. I brought my mango smoothie, beef jerky and royal trail mix as protein to help stave off the hunger without making my intestines miserable.
` I didn't bring my badge, but since everyone knew me by then, even the guards, I managed to look so pitifully enthusiastic/desperate about texting Leo to get my badge from the room (assuming he hadn't left already) that they let me in anyway.

Let's just say, SGU is different when the different co-hosts are all in the same room, and when you have the ability to see what's going on -- this is actually the first of two recordings which were later combined into a single episode!
` Since Rebecca was apparently too freaked out to come to TAM this year, they procured Richard Saunders as guest rogue this time (despite my previous offer to fill in!):

TAM 087 - SGU recording
Jay Novella, Evan Bernstein, Steve Novella, Richard Saunders and Bob Novella.

They're talking about the follies of militaries using dowsing rods as bomb detectors that are programmed by inserting a picture of the object that they're supposed to detect. Yes, really. Apparently, as I found out later, this has resulted in many lethal bombings.
` And now for a dinosaur:

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Amazing Meeting 2012, Day Two

I really have no excuses as to why I've been delaying my posts, even though I'm working on a lot of things and socializing more than before. I've been really tired, yes, but this particular post is so easy to do! Let's get back to where I left off last post:

Thursday, July 12, 2012:

It was six in the morning, on the seventh floor, when I was repeatedly awoken by what sounded like a guy shouting in perhaps an arabic-type accent, "Atheists! Aaaatheists!" over and over, and in my half-asleep state, wondered if he was planning to bomb TAM.
` Sounding as though he was right outside the door, I was too paranoid to get back to my room on the eleventh floor. Since I was also not taking my Al-Qaeda delusions seriously, I so wished I'd had a pair of earplugs with me so that I could get back to sleep.
` I swear he was saying, "Atheists! Atheists! Aaaaatheists!", or perhaps it was another word in another language that sounded like "atheists" when attenuated through the walls.

This went on for a couple of hours, until such time that it was quiet and I slipped back to my room without incidence, where I greeted my roommate Leonard, and realized that this was the first time I had encountered him in the hotel room we were sharing.
` I took a shower and we went off to breakfast at this cafe on the corner of the hallway adjacent to the blinging, pinging casino. I had a yogurt parfait, which came with a bowl because it was too big to fit into the parfait glass, and finished Leonard's last piece of lox, as protein is essential when trying to stave off hunger.
` Leonard and I spent a lot of time together on our own, although we did get spend some time meeting such people as Ray Hyman, creator of the Skeptic's Toolbox.

TAM 058 - Ray Hyman

 Admittedly, I spent much of this time running around and flapping my arms and jumping up and down -- although considerably less so than the previous night at Skeptics in the Pub -- and basically embarrassing myself somewhat, and amazingly did not perturb Leonard's stoicness in the slightest.

Without being a dork, I also talked to Michael Shermer about writing articles for Skeptic, and how many words they should be. Then I ran into Penn Jillette and one of his associates (probably Mike Goudeau, but I don't remember), and nearly bounced and flapped after him into the Grand Ballroom where he was setting up for his Sunday School podcast.
` I introduced myself and then went back out the doors, discovering that they were locked from the outside -- they must have known I was coming!

And that was just the beginning.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Amazing Meeting 2012, Day One

Not to be too apologetic, but I would have had this post up yesterday if I hadn't been spending so much time learning about the psychology of influence and suggestion from this hypnotist/mentalist guy. As this will one day probably lead to some interesting shenanigans, I don't mind so much the missing out on valuable internet time. ;-)

Based on my BlogNotes for Wednesday, June 11, 2012:

Got up at 6:30 in the morning, packed up all the stuff I had sitting by my bags while the kitten climbed all over my backpack. Also got a video of her being a moron, playing with my hand from inside a toilet paper package, among a few other things to show folks that I meet while abroad, such as the view of Puget Sound from my house, and our three setting suns. (They're in my TAM photo set, along with the rest of the photos you see here.)
` Lucas drove me to the airport, all the while condemning my protein drink for smelling like low tide. (When I opened it the first time he asked, "Did you fart?" just as he asks every time we drive by a paper mill....) Thanks to his help, I was so ready for TAM that I believed that nothing horrible would go wrong (and it didn't).
` Got my boarding passes at the kiosk (didn't even need to use the bar code I had spent so much time trying to correctly print out days before), had a veggie burrito at Q-Doba, listened to some podcasting goodness, and finally made it into the plane, where I had a nice view of Mount Rainier:

TAM 006
And we weren't even in the air, yet!

I'm currently sitting on the plane between two people who are passed out, and am taking pictures out the window across the one guy who is apparently "chasing rabbits". Am continuing to listen to episode 54 of Cognitive Dissonance. Apparently, Iran is killing people for drinking alcohol because they've killed all the homosexuals! That crazy Iran!
` The napkins on the tray tables, which have Life's Ultimate To-Do List include 'Find the Loch Ness Monster'. Somehow, I don't think that one will be checked off by too many people.

TAM 008
Flying over Seattle.

Had a bite to eat in Phoenix, and after accidentally sitting in the wrong row, discovered that my seat had not one, but two windows through which to take video of such spectacular sights as near-collisions with clouds! Even taking off was exciting:

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Am writing my TAM posts!

I have been typing in my TAMNotes, as well as being kinda busy, and am about to go out the door to another meeting, from which I will depart early and then go hang out with the cool hypnotist/mentalist guy for some shenanigans! The things we shall learn from one another. Mua ha ha ha!

Just keepin' ya updated with my progress. Do check out my TAM photos/videos on Flickr!

Edit: It's the next day and I still haven't finished transcribing because I've been so busy/out all night. Vegas has truly changed me. In any case, I'm getting back to it...

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Still haven't written a word for my TAM posts...

Nor checked much of my email or other online stuff today, except for a few things from people who were at The Amazing Meeting. I suppose I could have done more, but am just so tired from TAM, plus going to the gym, plus karate, plus other things.
` Most of the day has been spent both doing innumerable little cleaning projects around the house, as well as spending a lot of quality time with folks, from the humans and cats that I live with, as well as people I both have and haven't seen/talked to over the phone in a while.

But am I going to start my online duties now? Well, on my way home from the gym, I stopped at the library and found that I am finally off the waiting list (beginning at #21) for a book by Lawrence Krauss, A Universe From Nothing, which was sitting on the shelf.
` Since I have just gotten off the phone with a friend in Ohio at nearly 11:00 p.m. (or 23:00), and then checked some of my emails, and am currently half asleep, I've decided it's best to relax and read this book, while eating some delicious Greek Gods pomegranate yogurt.

Don't worry, I still have my dedicated face on, it's just that I've been more dedicated to people and things in my personal life today. Vada, by the way, is apparently relieved that Lou Ryan hasn't gotten rid of me even though he kept the kitten.

I've literally just uploaded all my TAM photos and videos...

Running until three in the morning, it's been a most time-consuming process, and well-worth it. After all, The Amazing Meeting 2012 has been by far the best experience of my entire life.

TAM 090
TAM-goer asks question at SGU recording. And Geeeeoooooo!

I went to sleep just after my last post, and woke up at 7:30 this morning. After giving all the photos my standard editing with the old (and noisy!) PC, transferring them to the external drive, then uploading them from there to the (non-noisy) laptop, I proceeded to watch and title videos, while finishing uploading some camping videos that didn't upload properly the first time around for some reason.
` This video-watching (and correcting) was interrupted for about four hours while Brianade and I were fascinated by the talent of the speaker at this month's skeptic's meeting (where I got ten minutes of mic time for TAM discussion), but afterwards I finished up the videos, then uploaded and rearranged it all online. Didn't even go to the gym or anything because I was so worn-out from both physically exerting myself and only sleeping about 8 hours at TAM.

A lot of famous people were there, and among the best-recognized were the magician duo Penn and Teller. As you can see, at Penn's Rock n' Roll Doughnut and Bacon Party, there were all manner of recording devices, from cell phones to iPads, and I'm only just beginning to find myself in other people's photos and videos online!

Plus, I got some really bitchin' photos from the airplanes!

TAM 327
It's the safest way to see the top of Mount Rainier!

At least I'm done uploading all this stuff. Post-writing starts tomorrow.

Expect it.

Monday, July 16, 2012

I'm back...

I have much to write about about TAM, and much to import from oder bogs, but first, as I have sept no more than 8 hours this entire time, that must be taken care of first. That, and the puzzing non-functionaity of one of my keys. Can't write very we without it.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

I'm At The Amazing Meeting Right Now... (and have been since Wednesday)

...so, I can't come to the blog right now. Am distracted by all the amazing people and events. Was at Penn Gillette's Rock and Roll Doughnut and Bacon Party earlier, have been gorging myself on debauchery for the third night in a row, and currently a dyslexic/sexlexic goat demon is letting me use his laptop, although I probably have WiFi in my room currently, but just happen to not be there at the moment.

Will be back on Monday with all my pictures, videos, and CRAZY STORIES GALORE!!!


(Ignore the 1.)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

My fireworks photos and such -- if you're into that sort of thing.

This Fourth of July is the first in which I have figured out how the video mechanism works on my camera, thus there will be no more clumsy, blurry long exposures. I insist on videoing everything this year, including the setting sun as the ferry goes across to Whidbey Island, with the sounds of the migratory terns:

As one of the ferries was making its way back from Whidbey, I got some video of it as well as the fireworks going on at the far shore:

Isn't that so superior than just trying to get photos? If only I would have shut up more. Anyway, that's only the beginning:

Friday, July 6, 2012

The interim between the parade and the fireworks...

I've previously posted some photos of Dilly climbing a towel and Vada being a grumpus because she's not the cutest cat anymore, but I didn't show this somewhat post-apocalyptic-looking sunset:

june 2316

Nor did I make any mention of Dilly's habit of sleeping underneath Lou Ryan's guitar whenever he left it on the sofa:

june 2323

Nor did I post this cute video of Dilly chasing a moth. Will she catch it? Let's see:

Thursday, July 5, 2012

It was a bright and sunny gay day with the flying spaghetti monster...

As I'm so focused on going to The Amazing Meeting and making sure that I get ahead in some things before I leave, I don't have much time for writing posts -- displaying photos, yes, but little more than that. Luckily, I have plenty of those! Care to be touched by a noodly appendage?

june 2220

What's this all about? Well, on June 24, Brianade and I headed out to the gay pride parade, in which I was featured and of which I took gorb-loads of pictures. The highlights, however should be plenty:

Monday, July 2, 2012

I officially have earned my degree!

This was in my email inbox today:
Congratulations! Your degree requirements are completed.  We have posted the degree to your transcript and it is immediately available for viewing and verification. 
The diploma will be ordered and will be mailed to you soon.  If you change your mailing address, please notify Sydnie Tran at...

If you choose to attend commencement in mid-June, you must RSVP by the posted deadline.
Seeing as it's already July, I don't think I'll make it to that commencement.

In truth, I actually earned my degree about a year ago (so saith my school records), but have been having to take more classes and re-apply for this degree, and despite the fact that my GPA has gone down a little since then, I finally am getting it in the mail!

Now, this transfer degree I've been telling everyone about, including universities that I applied to last year, is no longer a pipe dream, but officially mine, and no one can take that away from me!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Seattle Science Festival thingy at the Paramount

I've been doing a lot of things, partly in preparation for The Amazing Meeting, but thought I'd dig up this post, from back on June 16 when I went to the Seattle Science Festival thingy at the Paramount, with this guy as the headliner:

 june 2091

Although books are generally much more informative, lectures can be more fun to actually see, which is why I bother going to them at all.

The topic was supposed to be on evolution, but for whatever reason, Stephen Hawking was lecturing about things like multiple universes. And as he was the last speaker, I really ought to take a step back and check out the rest of picture before going into that:

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I has a new kitteh for my catteh -- mostly short videos!

Lou Ryan's mom, the day after accidentally erasing my science blog post, singlehandedly bought Lou Ryan and I some much-needed new footwear and a kitten, all in the same day!
` (She had offered to get us a flatscreen TV, but we said that we would rather have something more practical. And we all know how practical kittens can be!)

As one would predict, the catteh doesn't much like the kitteh:

june 2172 Vada and Dilly

Watch what happened when the kitteh and the catteh met for the first time:

I didn't name her, but her name is indeed Dilly, and this actually went better than with Rusty, the last kitten we got for Vada. Let's just say, he became such great friends with Vada that she apparently drove him off.
` Luckily, Dilly is not the kind of cat who prefers having her nose in Vada's ass all day long, so they'll probably get along better.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Home Video-a-Palooza!

This would have been a science post, but it got erased when I let Lou Ryan's mom check her email on my laptop -- because her laptop can't access our wi-fi -- and she shut it off!

I know. Just when I thought my BlogImpediments were outta here, something always surprises me.

And if you doubt my story, I actually caught this blunder on camera -- precisely because this was the only time I was in the living room with Lou Ryan and his mom, while trying to figure out how the video function on my camera really works, and all three of us were distracted by electronic devices.

Yes, I just had to try to make a witty comment (which the camera cut off at the end anyway) before asking her whether she meant shutting the laptop, or actually turning it off (thus erasing my blog post and everything else that was open and that I thought I had saved), but didn't because I wasn't too worried about that.
` After all, I thought it was ludicrous that anyone would even think of just turning off a computer that has several programs open, and besides, why would anyone turn their computer off, which shortens its lifespan, instead of putting it in sleep mode (which you can do by shutting the screen)?
` As soon as I stopped recording, I asked, "You mean, put the screen down?" and she said, "No, I meant turn it off," and I said, "No, never do that," and she said, "Well, it's too late."

I was really annoyed when I saw that the post I was working on (as well as documents in which I was translating things from Spanish to English) were completely erased somehow. That's what I get for working on posts outside of Blogger, which backs up your progress automatically.
` Such is the fog of having a short attention span, and other human faults. Speaking of, here's a picture I took in the fog -- I tried to get the spider web in front of my reflection so that you can see it better:

june 2018 Wet blue flower

Anyway, I should at very least be thankful for the fact that, after five years of stress and suffering with much worse roommates than the ones we just booted out, as well as some seriously unsafe and miserable, sometimes utterly intolerable living conditions, I've finally earned my degree -- I think!

What else? Lots:

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

FREE AT LAST after five years of crazy roommates!!

Today I have much great news, photos, and the first video I've taken with the same camera that I use for my photos.
` Maybe I said this next post would be sciencey, but maybe I've been spending more time reading and writing in Spanish than in English. My final is tomorrow, I'm finally supposed to get my degree, and am determined to work harder at Spanish than is necessary.

This dismal travesty of myself as a science writer is overshadowed by my elation at the wonderful state of affairs beginning on June 1 -- no, it's not liquor being sold at the grocery store: Rather, we are no longer housing, putting up with, and cleaning up after any crazy, creationist conspiracy-believing or schizophrenic substance-abusing people!

Also, that day, I saw the USS Nimitz try to creep by undetected by moi:

june 001 Ominous war vessel

You can't hide from me, Nimitz!

Anyway, without these people around to stink up the house, the smell actually had almost completely disappeared by June 2, before we had even started our massive cleaning project:
` Among other things, Brianade got the bathrooms and I vacuumed the carpets -- including the stairs, without a hose --, and Lou Ryan -- superhero that he is -- did more than twice as much work as either of us, including throwing out literally pounds of rotten stuff from the back of the fridge!

Since then, I've been struck by my lack of needing to shovel garbage from the counter into the garbage can next to the counter.
` Let me repeat that -- there are no longer piles of garbage on the counter that I need to move a few inches over, into the garbage can that is sitting right underneath it. As it should be.

Also, the last time I was swamped at the sink, it was just after the Pickled One had brought up his store of dirty dishes (complete with mold, cigarette ashes, and something that used to be milk), and then left them on the counter for me to wash. Never again!

In addition, now that I won't have to constantly scrub the cheese grater, our sponges will last longer! On a related note, no more melted cheese to pick out of the texture on the plates -- also, no more textured plates to pick cheese out of!
` Similarly, no more scrubbing egg out of the plastic container in which the same housemate would cook them -- in the microwave after midnight! Shortly before he had left, I had to get out of bed and vent the house because of the stink (a combination of his late night egg microwaving and his own body odor), and this was something I did routinely. No more!

And, although all of this is really great, there is one more thing that is perhaps more astounding: