Archive for October, 2010

Use Your Illusions

I guess you can trace my interest in these type of pictures back to freshman year at UC Davis when I happened upon a dude selling posters in front of the Coffee House early one day Fall quarter 1987.  I ended up purchasing my first Salvador Dali print.  At the time I fancied myself an open-minded adventurer who was eager to push the envelope and explore the infinite possibilities of normal human perception by any and all available means.  In other words,  I was eighteen years old and away from home for the first time in my life.  I proudly decorated my dorm room with that poster — among others which included Jessica Rabbitt and Brian Bosworth. It was the eighties and I had horrible taste, so sue me.

A few months later a friend of mine turned me on the works of MC Escher.  I couldn’t believe what I was supposed to be seeing.  Hours seemed to tick on by as my mind struggled mightily with what my eyes were telling it they saw.  Throwing more fuel on the fire in my brain was my collection of Where’s Waldo books and their innate ability to occupy chunks of my precious time.  (I would venture to guess that that was probably the first time that Escher has been mentioned in the same paragraph as Waldo).

Spring quarter later that school year brought with it my first ever Whole Earth Festival on campus.  The three day celebration of Mother Earth, natural foods, hippie music, Birkenstocks, patchouli oil, and sweat was so much fun for me and my friends that I almost dropped out of school so that I could follow the Grateful Dead around on tour.  No, not really, but I did buy this super-groovy tie-dyed t-shirt that had what looked like a skull on it but upon closer inspection was actually a drawing of a woman looking at her reflection in the mirror.  The picture is called Vanity and it’s posted above.  Pretty crazy, eh? (The Canadian in me couldn’t resist not saying eh).

Fast-forward to the current year of (practice with me) twenty ten and I discovered these three pieces of eyeball ingested brain candy while checking my mail on Yahoo.  I decided to post a few of my favorite illusions here for you to trip out on.  Enjoy.

Which arrows do you see first? The yellow ones or the green ones?

You realize that the fishies aren't moving, right?

Ahhh! The blue dots! Make them stop!


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Writer’s Block

Full disclosure time.  These past few weeks I have not really been feeling my writing.  Not like I’ve felt it before, that’s for sure.  Funny thing is is that I can’t put my finger on the exact reason why it’s not flowing out of me the way it used to.  It could be that I have gotten way too comfortable in my new workspace/recliner — so much so that I am overcome with the overwhelming urge to close my eyes for a nap the moment my cheeks hit the rich Corinthian leather.  Maybe it’s the fact that every evening for the past month or so I have grown accustomed to my nightly Nyquil/Baclefen cocktail.  It makes for a good night’s sleep but I wake up in the morning with a groggy case of medicine head.  Maybe it’s the added pressure I’ve put upon myself by posting a blog on Psychology Today’s website.  Or perhaps the disease is catching up with me in terms of its effect on my overall level of energy.  Is this a permanent thing or will I get my rhythm back?  Have I peaked or am I just stuck in a creative rut?

Whatever the answer is, be it a combination of reasons that I’ve touched upon above or something that I yet to pinpoint as a potential cause, I want to say thank you to every one of you who keep coming back day after day to read about me and my family’s adventures.  I appreciate every comment that you make, both written and unwritten, and I promise to work through my current writer’s block in order to produce the kind of writing that I know is still inside me itching to get out.

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Been home for a couple of hours now and I am proud to say that something happened today that has never happened to me before.  Besides me and Juan, there was no one else in the theater the entire film.  I’ve almost been solo a few times before but someone always managed to slither in by the last of fifteen previews to rain on my parade of one.

As for the movie itself, PA2 made me jump several times and I felt very nervous throughout because of the baby, but ultimately the film was a major letdown because of the way they didn’t do a decent job in explaining a very important plot point at the end.  Grade: C-

Hopefully next week’s movie will be better both in quality and attendance.

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It’s on!

Starting this Thursday and continuing every Thursday for as long as I am motivated to do so, the Movie Club is in session.  This week — actually today and in about an hour and a half — my caregiver Juan and I will be attending the 12:15 showing of Paranormal Activity 2 at the Century 20 in Redwood City, CA.

If anybody has a few free hours to spend with us, this is your invitation to join us in the theater.  I’ll be the guy in the wheelchair wearing sandals, jeans and a light green polo sitting in the front row of the bleacher seats.

Can’t make it this time, no problem.  Future movies and times will be posted each Wednesday on the right side of my homepage just below the picture of It’s a Small World.

If you are able to make it this afternoon, we look forward to seeing you.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot, don’t forget the Junior Mints.  They’re my favorite.

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Random Miscellany

Have you noticed an uptick in the number of people wearing jean jackets these days?  Could it be that the beloved Canadian Tuxedo is primed for a comeback?  I would appreciate any commentary regarding this phenomenon from all of our fashionista readers out there.

Just in case you were wondering, this is a Canadian Tuxedo over here to the right.  Any comments from our neighbors to the north (including members of my extended family) would be welcomed.

I am downright giddy with anticip…pation about this evening’s upcoming Rocky Horror-centric episode of Glee.  Growing up in the eighties, I was really into the RHPS and I have been to over thirty-five midnight showings of the film.  I hope that they do Sweet Transvestite and Rose Tint My World tonight because those are two of my favorite songs from the show.

Happy Birthday to my sister-in-law Alia today!  Have a good day Pea-Hag.

How friggin’ awesome is it that the Giants are in the World Series this year?  For the sake of my friend Mike Beusch’s health and sanity, I hope they win.

Beginning this Thursday and continuing every Thursday into the foreseeable future, I will be attending a movie with my new caregiver Juan at the theater in downtown Redwood City.  This is an open invitation to any of you local or visiting folks to join us for an afternoon at the cinema.  I will post the movie and showtime by 10 a.m. Thursday morning in the area to the right just below the photo at the top of this page.  The last sentence is not applicable to my Psychology Today readers.  Sorry.

And finally, have any of you seen the latest campaign commercial for California governor?  It is the most effective political ad that I think I have ever seen.  While I am not exactly thrilled with either candidate, I am looking forward to seeing the return volley.

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Tink in Pink Cowboy Boots

Her first year she was a Pea in a Pod. Last year she was an Elephant. This Halloween she is Tinkerbell.

Amidst a sea of various fairies and superheroes, there is only one Tink in Pink Cowboy Boots.

I believe that there is a special place in heaven for petting zoo animals.

The lovely and beautiful Picetti ladies.

Jumping in a bouncy house is way more fun than waiting in line with Mommy for a pony ride.

Please don't say you want a pony of your own, Emma -- thinks Daddy.

Careful with those sprinkles, young lady.

You can never have too many sprinkles!

Up your nose with some chocolate sprinkles.

There's no way that cookie is fitting in my tube.

Jason, Emma and Fehmeen Picetti: Halloween Twenty Ten.

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The Imposter

On about the first few years of the nineteen nineties, I happened to be employed at my college town’s local newspaper the Davis Enterprise.  I worked in the Circulation Department where my main responsibility was making sure that our thirty or forty middle school aged newspaper carriers received a paycheck every month.  I balanced this full-time job with a full course load at UC Davis as well as a jam-packed social agenda that included Grateful Dead shows, band practices with my rock group Film at 11, and frequent visits to the botany lab.

Our department was populated by a half dozen twenty to twenty-five year olds so you could imagine that the work environment was fairly light-hearted and jovial most days of the week.  For example, whenever there was occasion to fire a carrier for racking up too many customer complaints or for forgetting to do his route too many days in a row, those of us gathered in the office would sing the chorus of that song that goes, “Na na, na na na na, hey hey hey, good bye.”  Now before you go and get all  Judge Wapner on me, please keep in mind that we never sang that infectious little ditty in front of any kids and we were young, stupid, and extremely immature.  But I must admit, it was pretty funny at the time. Maybe a bit mean, but funny.

Speaking of funny, have you ever heard of imposter colognes?  You know, the kind that allegedly smells exactly the same as the real thing but for a fraction of the price?  Well, back in the days before these scent merchants set up shop in your neighborhood mall, they had to go door-to-door in order to peddle their wares.  One morning, this guy enters the office with a suitcase full of faux colognes and he is not taking no for an answer.  This dude is beyond pushy and his act is getting more and more obnoxious with each passing minute.

Our quick-witted receptionist named Patrick offered up the following ultimatum to the pesky salesman: “If you have this one cologne I’m looking for, I’ll buy everything you’ve got.  If you don’t have it, you’re outta here with nothing.  Deal?”

“Deal!” was his response as he flipped open the latch on his suitcase the moment it landed on the three foot tall front desk countertop.

There was a pause that seemed to last for an hour but in reality was only about five seconds when the self-titled Phone Boy uttered these now classic words: “Do you have Eau Dah Dew Dah Day?”

The salesman didn’t even bother to look in his case.  Knowing he had been bested, he quickly and quietly exited the building as those of us who remained are still laughing today.

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Lucky to Be Alive

Initially tentative, she soon warmed to the idea after witnessing her mother reaching into the orange colored gourd and extracting a fistful of sinewy strands of pumpkin guts and seeds.  While not necessarily gleeful in her zeal to remove the gooey innards on her own, Emma instead turned her attention to asking Fehmeen a hundred and one questions about the impending jack-o-lantern carving session that was about to take place.  Following pumpkin facial reassignment surgery, Dr 94070 carefully placed the unlit candle inside the hollowed-out piece of fruit currently resting atop the flat eating surface.  Once the wick was set ablaze, the house lights were dimmed in order for the gathered masses of three to sing Happy Birthday and, most importantly, to blow out the candle.  Then Emma slid next to her daddy on the cushion-seated bench so that she could better enjoy the frosting off the top of a perfectly baked cupcake, all the while playing her role in their customary pantomime of her feeding him the food that he is no longer able to consume any more.  The game stretches on for minutes as she regales him with stories about nothing and everything as if it was the most important thing in the world.  And for him, it is.

Moments like this make me feel lucky to be alive.

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My NLCS Game One Highlight

The ultimate highlight for me from last Saturday night’s opening game in the Giants vs Phillies National League Championship Series could have easily been Cody Ross’ two home runs off Philadelphia ace Roy Halladay or it could have been SF’s black-bearded closer Brian Wilson’s four out save.  Maybe it was my glee in knowing that upwards of 40,000+ white-towel-waving Philly phans were sent home in a bad mood because of the loss (which was avenged the next night and then some).

Anyway, back to my story.

Emma had just woken up from a three-and-a-half hour nap and her hair was crazy a la Christopher Lloyd’s Doc Brown character in Back to the Future.  It was the top of the seventh inning and Fehmeen plopped da Bug down on the couch in front of the Gigantes game on the television.  The first thing she said as she pointed to the tv was, “That’s Lincecum!”

In response my wife quipped back with, “How do you know that, Baba?”

“Cause he’s your bobblehead, Mama.”

The contrasting expressions on our faces couldn’t have been more opposite.  A proud father’s beaming smile full of joy and contentment at his daughter’s abilities to correctly identify prominent hometown ballplayers.  Her mother’s expression?  Let’s just say it wasn’t as enthusiastic as mine.

Go Matt Cain as first pitch of Game 3 is in twenty-five minutes.

Giants Baseball.  Torture.

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No Wireless No Problem

Today was the day my wireless woes went away.  I hope.

With the expert help of blog reader Gary (who is also married to one of my former teaching colleagues) and the omnipresent Italian Man Servant, we were able to vanquish the seemingly unbeatable foe by going old school on its @$$!

Even relocating the wireless router mere inches away from my Dynavox couldn’t get the job done.  I guess the developers spent all their seed money on the top-notch speaking and eye gaze components and next to nothing on an adequate wi-fi system.  When all the shouting was done, I am now connected to the interweb by way of an ethernet cord.

Who would have predicted that that would have been the solution to my wireless problem?  Not I, that’s fa sho.  Wi-fi is dead, long live the ethernet cable!

Thanks Gary and the ILM.

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