Monday, July 30, 2018

Up on the roof


I had a very interesting dream last night, and when it opened up, I was at the top of a very high tower with some sort of acquaintance. Though the guy and I didn’t know each other well, we were stuck in the same predicament. Both he and I needed to get down from the tower, which was about 50 feet off the ground. A ladder was attached to the tower, but unfortunately it ended 30 feet above the ground. The guy, who was heavyset, gave me instructions on how best to descend the tower. First, he said, I should take off my shoes and place them on the ledge. Then, when going down the ladder, I should keep my eyes straight ahead of me and at no point look down.

I was skeptical. Below us were several people with whom this guy and I were friendly. They were telling us that we had to come down, that we had no other choice, and that we should stop being afraid. After all, they said, they had come down the same way. But this guy and I were hesitant. Finally, the guy decided to go. He followed his own advice and for a while it all seemed to work. But then, after he had gotten down as far as he could on the ladder and had jumped -- I guess that had been his strategy: to jump the rest of the way, even though it was a major drop -- he landed on a surface that had looked like earth but was actually ice, and sank.

Obviously, this didn’t make me more enthusiastic about jumping or following the guy’s advice. I had thought that I was trapped and I really didn’t know what to do. Then, I noticed that there was a building next to the tower. I noticed that if I was careful, I could climb from the tower onto the building via the roof of a doorman booth, which for some reason was wedged between both structures. 

I worked up the nerve to climb over the small roof and was successful. From the building's roof now, I looked down on my friends and laughed at them “See!” I said. “You don’t have to do it the way you guys said I should. I did it my own way and it was perfect!"  For some reason, though, I had to go back to the platform of the tower. I had left some important papers on it or something. I was very unenthusiastic about this because I had just reached safety. But in the dream I felt it was my duty to go back. Luckily for me, my friend Kaivan was there -- he was one of the friends who had been waiting for me below -- and he did just want a good friend would in such a situation. He came up onto the roof where I was and told me that he would accompany me back onto the tower.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

"Field of Dreams"


Last night I had a dream and when it opened up, I was sitting in a dark room with a teenager. For some reason, I was supposed to give him tips on how to write better. The only really thing that stood out about this guy, besides his seeming nice, was that he had tattoos  — including face tattoos — and he had had his earlobes stretched. I remember saying to him, half kidding, “In my day, we just got our tongues pierced. And that was crazy enough.” This kid had a book with him, one that he had heavily annotated. The book was “Field of Dreams.” I'm not sure if "Field of Dreams" is even a book, but in my dreams, it was. I remember thinking to myself that "Field of Dreams" was a super strange book to have, just really random. But he had underlined and highlighted lines and passages that he liked, and was eager to have me help him with the writing that he wanted to do about the book.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Dream


Last night I had a dream and in it I was sitting in a classroom full of kids. The kids were about 15 or 16 years old. It was an ESL, or English as a Second Language, class and when the dream opened up, the teacher had just begun handing back tests we had taken. 

As I sat there waiting for my test to be returned, I felt a bit antsy. I was very curious about what my score was going to be. The funny thing is, I couldn’t see the teacher, or couldn't really, anyway.  I knew the teacher was female, but all I could see was her bottom half, sorta like how they used to do it on the "Muppet Babies."

Anyway, after a minute or so of just sitting there,  I began chatting with the student next to me. I think I might have been chatting with a few students, but I’m sure that I was chatting with at least one. I remember feeling nervous because I knew that if I got anything less than a “1” -- in Germany,  a "1" is the highest grade you can get -- the students around me were going to think that I was not very impressive. After all, English is my native tongue.

Finally the test was put down on my desk. I got a 1. The first thing I did after getting the result was show it off to the student I had been speaking to.  “Boom, see!" I said, “of course, I’m going to get a one,”  I said and I started laughing. Everything at that moment felt harmonious and proper. When I looked at the test, I saw that out of 90 questions, I had gotten all correct but three. Still, that qualified me for a 1.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

A little German practice

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

According to Urban Dictionary, “Flexin” means to “show off the stuff you got.” Well, I have been studying German a lot lately and I thought I would just use this blog post to show off the stuff I got. It’s also good practice for me, just to actually write out some of the things I've been learning. After all, I learn best, I think, through writing. Here we go.

P.S. If you have no experience with the German language, this post won’t make much sense to you.

Das Loch meines braunen Schuhs ist groß. The hole in my brown shoe is big. If there are two holes in the brown shoe, it would be, Die Löcher meines braunen Schuhs ist groß.  If we want to pluralize both the "hole" and the "shoe," it would be, Die Löcher meiner braunen Schuhen sind groß.

Let’s see . . . what else . . . OK, so we have der Hund, das Hotel, Die Frau, "the dog," "the hotel" and "the woman," respectively. Here we go, ready? Der schöne Hund ist groß. Das schöne Hotel ist groß. Die schöne Frau ist groß. But . . . ready for this? Ein schöner Hund, ein schönes Hotel, ein schöne Frau. 

Want some more? I got some more. Ich liebe den Hund. Ich liebe das Hotel. Ich liebe die Frau. Not enough? Ich liebe meinen Hund, ich liebe dein Hotel, ich liebe die Frau. Even more: Ich liebe den schönen Hund, ich liebe das schöne Hotel, ich liebe die schöne Frau. But if that wasn’t hard enough: Ich laufe mit meinem Hund, ich bleibe im Hotel, ich laufe mit meiner Frau.

But what if we want to add adjectives before those nouns? Well, buckle up! Ich laufe mit meinem schönen Hund, ich bleibe in einem schönen Hotel, ich laufe mit einer schönen Frau.

Now, let's just make a little story.

Ich ging in ein wunderschönes Hotel. (I went to a beautiful hotel.) Ich trug einen schönen Pullover. (I was wearing a really nice sweater.) Doch hat der Pulli ein Loch. (But the sweater had a hole.) Die Größe dieses furchtbaren Loch war groß. (The size of this stupid hole was big.) Ich fragte eine Frau, die für dieses schöne Hotel arbeitete (I asked a woman who worked for the beautiful hotel), "Wo finde ich einen Laden, der Pullis hat?" Sie hatte keine Ahnung. (She had no idea.)

Monday, July 23, 2018

Basketball diaries


So I've been really into basketball lately. I mean, like, really, really into it. I had always played as a kid, but I never really took it seriously. Well, last summer I started to play again and it just snowballed. I now play several times a week and when I'm not playing basketball, I'm watching it on YouTube or I'm reading about it. And there is just so much to learn. It's funny, someone once said, "The game of chess is like a sea from which a gnat may drink or in which an elephant may bathe." I almost feel like that's true for basketball, too. There's so much to learn. Just footwork, alone, is paramount.



Anyway, sometimes after my games, I write down what I liked and didn't like about my performance. After I played last Monday, I wrote a list of many things I'd still like to improve. Below is that list. Hopefully I'll return to this list in a few months and I'll be able to check a few things off, or at least say, "OK, I made some progress there."



I really need to work on taking two steps when I go to the basket. I've been driving to the basket more, but I haven't really been taking full advantage of the two full steps that I'm afforded after I pick up my dribble. I need to learn how to dribble left better. I need to improve shooting with my left hand and taking layups left handed. My jab step has gotten a bit better, but I still don't fully understand everything there is to know about jab stepping. There are many possibilities when one jab steps and I need to learn exactly what they are. I should continue utilising the "triple-threat" position. I've been keeping the ball out of the "box" pretty well, too, so I should keep that up. I need to learn how to position my body better when posting up and I need to perfect a finishing move, one that I can always go to after posting up or successfully;backing down a defender...probably a hook shot. Today I hit a turnaround jumper but I'm not sure it was that pretty. I really have to work hard on my fadeaway and really try to use it more in games. It wouldn't hurt to work on my three pointer. I don't want to work on my crossover yet but I'd like to down the road.  Speaking of down the road, I eventually need to learn how to go baseline. Maybe I'd like to add a step-back jumper to my repertoire at some point?



UPDATE

So the last time I was at basketball, I actually learned a few things that can help me improve my game. The first was how to execute a pick-and-roll better. During the game, my teammate had noticed that when I was setting picks for him, I was doing so with my body at a 90-degree angle in relation to the opponent. This is wrong, my teammate said, as a defender can get around you more easily if your body is set at such an angle. However, if you set the pick at a 45 degree angle, you're good. Also, the same teammate said, when I was rolling to the basket after having set a pick for him, my eyes were in the wrong place. Maintaining eye contact with the man for whom you've just set a pick is essential because that man is going to want to pass to you if he can't score.



The other thing I learned last was a finishing move in the post. Another of my teammates had noticed that I enjoy backing down defenders. However, he saw that I was having trouble finishing, so after the game, he showed me how to do so better, especially from the left block. Basically, he said, while facing the basket, dribble once with your left hand and at the same time seal the defender off with your right foot. Once you've done that, you can go in for a lay up or even go baseline.



UPDATE II

Last time at basketball, I positioned myself near the rim pretty well. By constantly moving (when I didn't have the ball), I was able to get open right underneath the rim more, and score. Another thing that I did that I was proud of was I didn't dribble the ball when I was near the rim. I understood that I had achieved a good position and didn't put the ball on the ground. This is an improvement. Many times when I had been under the rim, I erroneously power dribbled. But not this time. This time I just caught the ball, maybe took a step or two, and put it up.



UPDATE III

 Last Friday, I was practicing with a friend and I got two things out of our session. One, when I'm about to shoot a fadeaway, I sometimes hold my breath. My friend reminded me to breathe, and after I did, my movements were a lot smoother.  Also, sometimes when driving to the basket, I sort of just gave up right before the finish line if a defender is still on me. My friend was able to help me correct this. She guarded me really hard during a drive and at the critical moment, when we were both around the right block, she shouted, "Go! Go! Go!" to motivate me to continue on with my drive. And it really helped. Even though I didn't score a point off the layup every time -- in fact some times she stuffed me -- I was successful a few times and feel a little more comfortable now taking the rock to the hole.

UPDATE IV

So I did it. I finally scored really nicely off the fast break. I had been having difficulty making a layup off the fast break. When I first started playing, I would just stop before reaching the basket because I knew my opponent was hot on my heels and was scared he was going to stuff me from behind. After I built up enough courage to drive all the way to the rim, I missed the layup because I was too frazzled – after all, that opponent was just a step or two behind me. But not last Monday. Last Monday, after receiving the ball on the fast break, I drove all the way to the rim with an opponent in tow, took a layup and made it. I scored this way a couple of times, actually, and it felt good every time. That had been a big deal for me, making a layup off the fast break. It sounds easy, but it hadn’t been.

Update V

Pretty interesting yesterday at basketball. For the first time, I kept a mental note of my shooting accuracy. I was 9 for 19, which means I shot at 47 percent. I definitely have room to improve, but that’s not that bad, I don’t think. I was proud of several things, though. Again, I scored off the fast break, beating the opponent to the rim and laying the ball in with a soft touch even though I was running very fast. I also sharply crossed an opponent left and then drove to the rim. I didn’t make the lay up, but the move was nice. Another time I crossed an opponent left and made the shot. The opponent was way too slow in trying to react, but hey. What I have to work on, though, is not getting stuffed. Several times yesterday I went in for a layup and was totally stuffed when trying to shoot. I have to work on moving the ball around while going in for the layup. It’s not good enough to just go in for the layup and hope that you’re opponent is not going to have a hand with which to stuff you!

Update VI

I finally did it. I had told myself before that I had done it, but I don’t think I ever really had. I finally shot a true fadeaway, and scored. I say that I had said that I had done it because I wanted so bad to have done it. But all those times I made what I thought, or had hoped, was a fadeaway, I was only making a turnaround jump shot, I think.

But today at basketball, I got the ball and began backing down my opponent near the right block. All I felt was a body on me and arms frantically – or what felt like frantically – reaching around, trying to get the ball. The next thing I know, I’m pushing the defender off, turning around, with my footwork right – and I know my footwork was right because a) I saw my feet and b) it just felt right felt –jumping and firing. It was an incredible feeling and everyone cheered after I made the shoot, even some people on the other team.

I had practiced that shot for nearly a year. I made it many times while practicing. But today was the first time I truly made it in a game, and it was awesome.

Update VII

Not too much to report today. I think the one thing I was proud of, believe it or not, was how I bodied my defender off me. The motion that I made to get him off me, as well as my balance, was just right.

I had just received the ball in the post around the left block and was trying to do something, anything. All of a sudden, I felt my defender all over me. Using my left upper arm and shoulder, I sort of pushed, or nudged him backward, toward the hoop. He didn’t fall back on his butt, which is good, but he was pushed back enough for me to get some room to shoot, which is real good. I’m not even sure if I made the shot, but the move was right and many times, getting the move right feels just as good.

Update VIII

Give me an A! A! Give me a C! C! Give me a C! C! OK, this is taking too long. The word I want to spell is “accuracy.” Accuracy, because that’s what my game was all about today – shooting accuracy. Some backstory: The weather in Hamburg these last few weeks has been beautiful – an average of 75 degrees day after day. So all of last week, or at least four days out of seven, I went to the park to shoot around. Well, today at basketball, the practice paid off. I was hitting big time. One of the things I always said I could do, if I could anything, was shoot. Usually, if I’m lucky, my shooting average is about 45 percent. But today, I was hitting about 75 percent of the time. My team won two out of three games thanks in part to my accuracy. Practice makes perfect, I guess.

UPDATE IX

Today I wasn’t proud of my shooting or the way I drove to the basket or a fadeaway. Today I was proud of something less sexy but incredibly important – stamina. For the last year I have honestly struggled to play basketball for one full hour without totally dying. The difficulties I had been having can probably be attributed to the fact that for a long time I had been overweight.
But over the last year, I have played basketball nearly every Monday and have shed 15 pounds along the way, and today, finally, finally, I was able to go for one full hour with no real problems. It was a payoff that had felt long overdue.

UPDATE X

The first time you successfully do a move in a game, it’s always such a thrill. For the last couple months, I had been practicing driving left. I’m a righty, so my instinct is to drive right. But you’re limiting yourself if you can only drive one way. So when I’m practicing, I make sure to practice driving left. Anyway, not only did I drive left today, but I managed to make a left-handed hook shot.
How cool is that? My teammates congratulated me after the shot, and I gotta say, it did feel good.

UPDATE XI

Today was pretty cool because I did a move I hadn’t even known I had in me. I had been near the right wing, inside the 3-point line, and had just been passed the ball. My defender was directly in front of me, sort of shadowing my movements – so when I would lean right, he would lean right, when I would lean left, he would, too, etc. I had wanted to drive past him, but there were no opportunities. Then, for a split second, my defender let his guard down. He put his hand down for just one moment and came slightly out of his defensive stance. When he did, I just reacted and shot the ball – and made it. I must have had something like a .30 second window. But I reacted the right way. I had always seen players do this kind of move – especially Koby Bryant – but had never practiced it. A very nice surprise indeed.

UPDATE XII

When I first started playing basketball again, I thought one of the things I would have to do to get better would be to learn some new moves. So I took to YouTube and began watching basketball-move tutorials.

One of the moves that I thought would be really cool to learn was called the jab-step. A jab-step is basically a fake first step toward the basket. The offensive player uses the jab-step to throw off the defense or to keep the defense off balance.

I had really learning this move could help me improve my game, so I did just that, I learned it, and ultimately brought it to the basketball court.

But every time I would use the jab-step or attempt to use it, something wasn’t right. Then one day a light bulb went off. I had been putting the cart before the horse. A jab-step, I realized, is a move that a player should do only after he has learned how to drive to the basket properly. After all, what sense does it make to pretend to be about to drive to the basket, if in all actually, I really can't.

Considering that at the time of my first implementing the jab-step, I hadn't yet learned how to properly drive left or right, you can imagine how I looked while doing the move.

So . . . What’s the point of all this? Well, today I jab-stepped properly for the first time. And you know what, it just came natural. I didn’t even realize I had done it until after the game. Go figure.

UPDATE XIII

For the longest time, I had been unable to score on a friend who is taller than I. Every time I would back this person down, they would be able to swat the ball away when I would try to take a shot. But then I realized that if I learned to fake a little or to shimmy while backing this person down -- maybe fake left, maybe fake right . . . maybe use the feeling of their body weight to my advantage --  I might be able to score. And that’s exactly what happened today.

UPDATE XIV

Last night was such a monumental night at basketball

I finally did what I had wanted to do for so long.

Let me back up. When I was a kid, I never played basketball aggressively. I almost always shot the ball.

When I began playing again, about a year ago, my main goal was to be more aggressive — to take it  to the friggin' rim more.

But, really, I didn't even know what that fully meant.  Was my goal just to drive the ball like a crazy person? To go baseline? To post up? To "shake and bake" my opponent?

After playing for a couple months, I finally realized that what I really wanted to do — what I hadn’t done as a kid — was to drive to the rim “through traffic” — that is, pick up the ball in the key and outmaneuver the opponent or opponents in front of me to get at the rim and shoot the layup.

Once I learned that this was exactly what I wanted to do, I did it, but not usually that well.

But then, a couple of days ago, I watched a YouTube video about driving to the rim. One of the tips that the video’s creator gave I had already heard before: “Cradle the ball after you pick up your dribble.” The other tip was "take small dribbles when you are going through traffic."

However, the only thing that was different about this video as opposed to others on the same subject was the little bit more of info. The video’s creator showed, for example, where one should be when picking up one’s dribble — in the key, usually — and he also focused a bit more on how the footwork works.

As I watched the video, something just clicked. Again, I had seen such videos before, but this time, something clicked; that’s the best way I can say it.

And so, when I arrived at basketball last night, I followed the dude’s advice, or rather, I should say, I was finally able to follow it. Every time I got the ball and the circumstances were right, I tried to take those two steps and keep going no matter how intimidating it was to see two defenders lined up to block me.

And the method worked. I mean, it didn’t always work — sometimes I was blocked or lost the dribble, but several times I picked up that dribble, cradled that ball, outmanoeuvred my opponents and scored.

It almost felt as if I were a bowling bowl, or if I was seeing things from the perspective of a bowling ball, and the defenders were the pins.

One awesome moment from the game: I had just crossed the half-court line when I saw that a teammate of mine was near the opposing team's key and was open. However, I didn’t pass the ball to him. Instead, I said, mostly joking, “I want the glory!” and then went in through traffic for the layup and scored.

As my team and I were heading back to our side of the court, to get back on defense, that teammate of mine who had been open, said, “And you got it!”

Friday, July 20, 2018

Some words, some words...

Ever notice how some words are very close in meaning, so much so that if they get confused no one even really knows. It’s almost as if these words convey such a distinct idea that we don’t even really care if we are using the precise word, because, after all, we understand the idea.

Consider “perspective” and “context.” These words, I think, often get used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing, of course. 

If former U.S. President Barack Obama makes a statement about climate change and that statement reflects poorly on industry, well, that might piss a lot of people off, especially people who don’t agree with Obama. However, if we really want to make an assessment of Obama’s take on climate change as it relates to industry, we really need to know, among other things, what Obama has said previously on the subject, what the current beliefs on climate change are and how Obama’s statement figures into those beliefs. That’s "context."

On to “perspective.” If Obama gets thousands of "likes" on Twitter after making his statement, it might seem as though a sea change is underway. However, if we know that no U.S. president has been able to sway Congress on matters of the environment very much after leaving office, that’s "perspective." "Perspective" is like "context," but perspective involves a little more judgment. It gives us a fuller picture of the matter as well but also places more weight on certain things than on others.

Oh, and since we’re on it, let's have a tiny chat about "significance," too.

If Obama’s remarks were similar to what other former U.S. presidents have said after leaving office, but none of those other presidents had made such wave-making remarks so quickly after having left office,  and Obama's decision to make the statement so shortly after returning to civilian life signaled a new way in which a former president can behave, then that would be "significance." Why and in what other ways were those comments important?

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Ta-da!

Jack of spades2.svg

So I finally did it. I finally fooled my girlfriend really good with a magic trick.

See, I have been really into sleight-of-hand card tricks recently and have been practicing them a lot. But every time I had shown my girlfriend such a trick, she had noticed how it was done or had found some other flaw.

At issue most of the time was how smoothly I was executing a double lift. When a magician does a double lift, he fools the spectators into thinking that he has only lifted one card off the top of the deck, when in reality he has skimmed off two. Thus, when the magician returns his “card” to the top of the deck, the one that the audience saw is actually the second from the top.

It’s Magic 101, really, but every time I would try to do a double lift during a card trick on my girlfriend, she'd be like, “Uh-uh. I saw that...You really have two cards there.” Or she'd say, “Almost.”

Until today. Today I executed the technique on her perfectly, and here’s how I know.  After commencing the trick with some banter, I flipped over a card -- the Jack of Hearts -- and told her to remember it. When she said OK, I flipped the card back over. When I turned the card over again, it was the Jack of Spades. “Ta-da! Magic,” I exclaimed, half serious and expecting her to criticize me. But she didn't. Instead, she said, “What are you talking about?  That’s the same card you just turned over."

“Ah, but it isn't,” I said, and then flipped over the second card on my stack, revealing the card she had originally seen, the Jack of Hearts.

Ta-da!

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Litte epiphany


So I had a little epiphany today when it comes to how fast time goes when you get older. I had gone out with a friend of mine to get lunch. This friend is significantly older than I; she’s 61. Anyhow, we had been talking about jobs and whether she still likes hers and then she said, “Well, it doesn’t really matter now because I only have two more years until retirement.”

Wow, it really hit me at that moment. I remember meeting this woman on a sunny day in August of 2007. She had just come back from vacation and had only recently turned 50. But now she was 61 and talking about retirement. And then, suddenly, it was all spread out before me, like it usually is when you have an epiphany. She’s getting older, I’m getting older. A decade can pass relatively quickly when you're older if you are not looking too hard. People change. Statuses change. Couples that you know don't just have a baby but a 2-year-old baby, jobs are gotten and lost, goals are exceeded, buildings change, streets change, the character of streets change, stores that you had loved go out of business, stores impressively remain, celebrities die, people who you had never thought would be parents become parents, Sundays are wasted, people move out, people who are old get significantly older.

Even more interesting, maybe, is that the conversation I had with this woman today took place just one block away from where we had first met, on that sunny day in August, and as I sit here and write this entry now,  my impression of her from that day is as clear and powerful as the one of her from today. Yet 11 years have passed.

When I was a kid, I never understood why adults were happy when you would say they looked young for their age. I just knew it was something they liked. I also found it confusing when they would say that time moves so fast. Well, I don't think that time always moves fast -- there are still many Sundays left, for better use -- but it can if you're not looking too hard.

Saturday, July 07, 2018

What dreams may come






Ever wake up from your dreams straight up thankful? Maybe you didn’t have nightmares, but the feelings that your dreams left you with were so bad that you were just thankful they were not real. That’s how I felt this morning.

In all honesty, I think it’s boring to hear about other people’s dreams. Dreaming is such a personal thing that sometimes it's hard to get on board when other people tell you about theirs. Still, I’m going to tell you about mine from last night.

They were basically a big mishmash. Just think of a ball of snow, black snow, that gathers more black snow as it rolls downhill and is filled with images. That’s what my dreams were like last night.

The first sequence was about those shootings that recently happened at that newspaper in Maryland. I dreamed that on the day of the shootings, I had been near that newspaper and had actually dropped into the office for some reason. However, my visit preceded the attack by two hours. In my dream, I thought about how close I had come to dying.

In another sequence I was touring a palace somewhere in Cambodia or something. There was a tour guide and he told us that the temple we were in honored children who had died. In fact, the tour guide said, the dead children, hundreds of them, were actually entombed in the building, in the cement that was under our feet. He said that they had all been buried vertically because space was scarce.

In another sequence, my father was supposed to meet me at a seaside town. The way that he was going to find me was I would turn on my phone's GPS signal and when he arrived at the town, he was going to turn on a program on his phone that would be able to pick up my signal and lead him to me. At some point, he finally arrived, but when he did, he had an entourage -- he was famous! I gave him a hug and told him he looked great. However, later that evening, when he said bye to me for the night, he called me by a wrong name, “John.” This pissed me off big time and I said to him several times, “What the fuck did you just call me?”

In another sequence, one of my friends from the U.S. told me that he understands how some people can be ostracized after they have committed murder because he once killed a woman in self-defense in Spain. I asked him where it happened and he told me at a department store that he had been working at, during a robbery. Suddenly, I was transported to this department store on the day of the robbery. I was standing at the concierge desk and I was right in the middle of the action.

The robbers were actually quite polite, and the whole time I wondered how my friend was going to wrest a gun from one of them, a woman, and shoot her. One of the robbers actually hung out with me and another employee near the entrance, an area that resembled a soccer field. My dog was on this field and this other employee had a ball and tried to throw it at my dog in such a manner that, if it connected with her, would make her tumble over. I told him not to do that and asked him if he was crazy.

In another sequence, one of the last I can remember, I was with my girlfriend at a seaside resort town, a different one from where I had met my father. I wasn’t feeling very well, I just wasn't feeling like myself, and my girlfriend was flirting with many guys. Then someone told me that my girlfriend had been to that same resort town when she was 25 and had been very promiscuous during her stay. This disturbed me.

I have no idea how long it took to dream these dreams, but they seemed to occur throughout the duration of the night. And they sure were disturbing. So disturbing that I woke up on several occasions from them. One time, around 2 a.m., I opened my eyes and said to myself, “What the fuck...wow...what the fuck!” Another time, around 4:30 a.m., when it was still pretty much dark out but not fully, I woke up to the sound of birds chirping. But there was one bird that seemed super loud, as if it were singing through a megaphone. I lifted my head, looked through the window onto my balcony and saw that a blackbird was sitting on the railing, singing its little heart out. I thought that that was very beautiful.

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

They just don't mix

Very interesting stuff. Yesterday my mom and I were on the phone doing a crossword together. One of the answers was “eggnog” and it made my mom think of an event she had gone to, one where eggnog was served. Even though we were doing the puzzle, she felt moved to tell me about this event, and asked me if she could. I agreed, and she did, but before I knew it, she had already moved on to another topic, something about the Corning Glass Museum, in Corning, New York. I really didn’t want to hear about this museum -- I just wanted to get back to the puzzle -- but she was off and running: "The collection at Corning rivals any in the world." … "The exhibitions they have there are great." … "It’s in such a lovely part of New York." I  was just letting  her speak and was basically tuning in and out. However, she eventually did say something that caught my attention: “You were in Corning as a little boy.” That’s right, I thought, I was. All of a sudden, I remembered the pizza place where my mother and I ate after having visited the glass museum. The memory was vivid, the image of me sitting inside the establishment perfectly clear. Why? Because it was at this pizza place that I learned that spicy food and Coca-Cola don’t go together.

Monday, July 02, 2018

trick

You know, it's amazing the reactions you get from people sometimes.

Yesterday, over dinner, I had wanted to show my girlfriend a type of magic trick. It didn't involve playing cards but it was a cool trick nonetheless, one I had seen David Blaine perform and thought really cool.

Before I tell you any more, though, here it is:

Think of dessert. Don't think of ice-cream or anything like that, like any dessert you might have at home. Think of a dessert you can imagine ordering at a restaurant, like tiramisu... Got it...? OK, now think of the last letter of that desert. Do you have that letter in your mind? OK, now think of a breakfast food that begins with that letter. Got that too...? OK, now think of the second letter in that breakfast food. Got it? Good, now think of an instrument that begins with that letter.

Are you thinking of a guitar?

Now, this trick worked on me. When I watched David Blaine do it on YouTube, I indeed thought of a guitar and was thoroughly freaked out. But yesterday, after I did the trick on my girlfriend and she said, yes, that indeed she was thinking of a guitar, she showed no real surprise whatsoever. Instead, she said her answer all had to do with statistics. She then tried to dismantle the trick from every angle and to show why she knew she had been led to choose what she had chosen.

Now, granted, her reaction might have had to do with the fact that after she said yes, that she was thinking of a guitar, I basically yelled in her face, "Ha ha! See! I told you I could do magic!" But still. It's just interesting the reactions you get from people.