holy moley, kim gordon of sonic youth fame turned 60 yesterday. happy birthday! i can't possibly be the only man or woman of a certain age who crushed hard on kim as a teenager in the 80s and didn't realize she was in her 30s? truth be told i might still have a crush on her and who wouldn't - from the elle profile - "In that moment, Gordon was the ultimate hipster Renaissance woman I aspired to be, a feminist rebel who could make avant-garde art all day, then cook a killer dinner for her family at night."#
i subscribe to the embodied mind thesis which posits that the nature of the human mind is largely determined by the form of the human body and central to that theory is the concept of neurotransmission. i.e. we perceive and think through sensory tranmsissions integrated and mediated by neurons. so it's remarkable to see new research done on mouse chimeras which indicates that lowly "helper cells" called astrocytes, not just the number of neurons and their interconnections, might possibly be the key to human intelligence. according to one researcher, "It’s a stunning result. It provides the first unequivocal evidence that astrocytes may well have been one of the evolutionary drivers of human capabilities." and if peripheral cells like astrocytes might play a key role in human intelligence, what other cells might also be involved like, say, in the gut? related to the embodied mind this recent radiolab podcast, "speed" has a segment "never quite now" where they discuss the slowness of neurotransmission which happens at about 27 meters per second or 60 miles per hour which means usain bolt runs at about half the speed of his nerve transmission and it takes a full 1/4 of a second for visual stimulus to reach the motor centers of your brain which is about the same time as it takes to transmit a telegraph from new york to chicago. everything you experience has already happened! you're stuck in the past! contemplate what that means when you're driving down the road at 60 miles per hour! somehow, in my mind, this makes me wonder what do whales see ( and think )?
the chickenpox was going around odin’s school and after a few days of wondering why he had a slight heat rash that wouldn’t go away ( in hindsight denial is amazingly powerful ), it turns out he got it. which is actually sort-of good since we were going to vaccinate him if he didn’t come down with it this year since the risk of complications from chickenpox goes up with age.
of course, it’s a natural to ask why we didn’t get him vaccinated to begin with. we’re not anti-vaccines and he’s up-to-date on all his other vaccinations but we passed on chickenpox because it doesn’t present a realistic danger to an otherwise healthy child kid. partly it’s because we tend to balk at unnecessary interventions that merely prevent an inconvenience. and partly we believe that immune systems are complicated and have evolved to get activated in certain ways at certain times and it’s possible that not getting something like the chickenpox can have unintended consequences. for example clinically observed chickenpox is associated with a lower risk of childhood-onset multiple schlerosis. i’m certainly not saying if you choose to get your kid vaccinated that she’s going to get MS, but i do think exposure to a broad range of non-lethal and relatively low-risk things is likely, given how humans evolved, an important part of building a strong and resiliant immune system. this is an offshoot of the thinking that maybe we’ve scrubbed ourselved and our environments a little too clean:
“Increasing evidence suggests that the alarming rise in allergic and autoimmune disorders during the past few decades is at least partly attributable to our lack of exposure to microorganisms that once covered our food and us.”
thankfully, odin appears to have relatively mild symptoms. no substantial fever, no puking, no headaches, no pain.
just a bit of itching and a lot of red spots – nothing an oatmeal bath can’t cure!
oh the modern convenience of an ipad with netflix to go along with a homemade chocolate shake while riding out chickenpox. i don’t think i could have dreamed of such luxuries when i had it 35 years ago!
well, the good news is that after an cool spring that left you wondering when spring was actually going to arrive, on the first of may it was finally warm enough for long enough for the Narcissus pseudonarcissus outside to bloom.
the bad news is that it’s supposed to dip below freezing tonight, and we might even get a little snow(?!) tonight or tomorrow. so i cut some of the flowers down and brought them inside to enjoy their short but sunny life inside.
truth be told Narcissus pseudonarcissus, or the common daffodil, is not my favorite Narcissus ( that would be the Narcissus poeticus ) but every time i see one Narcissus pseudonarcissus i wonder, “why the passive aggressive scientific name”? it’d be like naming Homo pseudohomo. i mean, your either a Narcissus or your not. i imagine whoever named it first was so disappointed in it, they decided to forever call into doubt whether or not it was really a member of the genus.
i think it’s pretty neat that odin will sometimes voluntarily choose to while away the time with little knitted felting projects. like today, i walk by and ask what he’s working on. “oh, something that reminds me of spring.”
a spring scene, indeed! if you look carefully you can see he’s felted together different shades of blue to give the sky some depth.
the push-up program i’m following is a 6 week program and i’ve been repeating the last week for a couple of weeks and can’t seem to get past 60-70 consecutive push-ups. i thought maybe i wasn’t giving myself enough time to rest before taking the test, so this week i took a whole week off before the test and i still max out at 70 push-ups. my overall strength is increasing because i can relatively easily do 250 push-ups with reps of 20-40 which would have been impossible before starting the program but i’ve hit a plateau on the total number of consecutive push-ups.
i’m sure some fitness nerds out there will tell me what i’m doing wrong. should i just keep repeating the last week of program until i break through the 70 push-up wall?
ever since odin had a yard sale to earn the money to buy a bicycle, each spring when our town has a city yard sale day, he’s eager to part with some of his stuff in exchange for a little money. it’s fun to watch him figure out what he’s willing to part with, decide on prices and then learn if other people think his stuff is what he thinks its worth and even haggle with prospects a little bit over prices
i’m pretty sure when i was eight the last thing i wanted to do was sell my stuff to strangers even if it meant putting a little cash in my pocket.
this time around he earned $63! some of it, he gets to put in his pocket and some of it is going in the bank.
since he saw this video he’s now more convinced than ever that he wants to save up for a drone?!
well, i thought i was going to make a little progress over the winter since odin inspected progress on The World’s Most Awesome Treehouse(s) but it turns out that heaving floor joists up a ladder in the ice and snow always ended up being last on my list of things to do. hi. ho. the good news is that it stayed up all winter!
now that the weather has finally turned a little warmer i’m raring to get back to it and have almost all the floor joists up! just two more to go which will be a little tricky since i need to create cripple joists around the trees. but not too tricky.
and then i can start putting in the decking, a guard rail and balusters so it’s safe enough for odin to run around and even pitch a tent and sleep up there while i’m designing the treehouse.
i have to admit that i’m pretty excited about how the 14′x16′ deck in the sky is turning out! and even more excited at how sturdy it feels even in strong wind gusts.
after i’m done, maybe i should make a little video along the lines of the “lollipop fort of death”?
so i’m standing, staring at the fridge wondering what i can whip together and a plan slowly comes together. a wonderfully tasty plan. a plan so wonderfully tasty that i can’t believe it had never occurred to me before – BACON AND BLUE CHEESE BREAKFAST TORTILLAS!