Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Summer Camp 2012 - The Weir, Robinson, Greene Acoustic Trio

Drawing Done by Stephanie at Summer Camp 2012

The Sun Shine stage was just starting to fill in when we arrived an hour early. With a signed copy of my trans-realist, sci-fi novel, ‘Scarlet Begonias’, in hand, I sidled up to the sound board guys to see if they could slip it to Bobby after the show. I started with the camera guy, but he only had a press pass and wasn’t part of the crew.  Then I leaned over the railing to ask the guys tweaking knobs at the board. They said that they were just hired techies with no backstage access at all. It seemed that reaching my target was going to be more difficult than I’d anticipated, especially after the ease with which I was able to connect with Keller Williams earlier in the day.
I walked to the front of the stage which was crammed tight with a sea of photographers, so I stopped at the far right side where two security guards were positioned. I asked them if they’d be able to give the book to Bobby.  They said no, but another guy heard me asking and told me that he’d see what he could do. I thanked him, and he disappeared into the restricted access zone.
It was getting close to show time, and I’d left my family back by the Ali Babba Kabob stand a half hour ago, so I decided to give it just one more try. I spotted another guy who looked like he had access to the inner sanctum. The first guy hadn’t come back yet, so I asked this one if he could give my book to Bobby. He said he’d try and scurried off with the signed copy just as the crowd was standing up to welcome the trio onto the stage.
The wind blew Bobby’s hair, now grey, as he stepped up to the mike with the unassuming saunter of a seasoned rock star. I felt a surge of excitement that brought back memories of the 40+ shows I’d seen in my twenties when the breeze would tousle his hair in just the same way.
Eleven songs, most of which I’d seen performed by the Dead, comprised the hour long set that felt strangely distant and moved at a tempo slower than any I’d remembered. They started the show off with Truckin’, a selection that I found disappointing since it’s played on the Grateful Dead channel on satellite radio so often that the station’s name should be the Truckin’ channel.
And although the songs were expertly executed, I was missing the connection with the audience that was always present when I’d seen the Grateful Dead in the past. Maybe it was the fact that the majority of the audience (most likely born just a few years before Jerry died) had missed the opportunity to experience the intimacy that had developed between the band and their dedicated fans. Or maybe the connection was there, but the music wasn’t loud enough back by the falafel stand where we were sitting to be fully engaged (I never had to protect the hearing of an 8 year old kid back in the day). Or maybe I just had poke around the unfamiliar ensemble a bit and make peace with the fact that, with only one member of the Grateful Dead present, it wasn’t fair to judge this acoustic trio against the heady remembrances of the long, long ago.
So I plucked out the juiciest bits and am leaving the rest for further consideration:
Iko Iko - I’ve never heard a version I didn’t like.
Deep Elem Blues –Whenever the ‘song-which-shall-not-be-played-so-often’ comes on the radio, I switch over to the Blue Grass channel where I sometimes hear Deep Elem Blues being played by a bunch of picking maniacs. The frequency of this occurrence struck me as quite improbable, and I sure do love me some improbability, so this song made me happy.
Uncle John’s Band –I made my daughter walk up to the sound board with me for this one because I used to play it on the open-mike circuit in Chicago. The harmony vocals were spot on, and it felt really good to sing along.
Not Fade Away – I couldn’t help but feel sad during this one since it was obvious that fading had indeed occurred. I was brought to tears when I heard this song for the last time in 1995 (April 2nd, The Pyramid – Memphis, TN) because it carried the eeriest sense of imminent release, foretelling the future with a subtle reluctance to fully commit to the message in the lyrics, despite the desperate appeals being chanted from the audience.
All things considered, there’s still no better way I could imagine spending an evening, and I am grateful for the experience. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Summer Camp 2012


We arrived at in Chillicothe at 3:30, too late to catch Caravan of Thieves scheduled to play at the Campfire stage by the entrance of the dusty campgrounds. The check-in process was relatively painless, and by 4:00 Greg was dragging our wagon, bungie corded to overflowing, toward the main Shakedown drag. AfroZep, a Led Zeppelin cover band with a percussion army, played the Immigrant Song to welcome us to our new home.

The afternoon heat hadn’t been subdued by the overcast sky, and a strong wind was blowing the dust from the paths into our eyes. It was a powdery dust that would plague us for the next four days. I heaved my rucksack higher onto my shoulders and we set out to select our campsite.

I requested that we stay in the wooded area by the Camping stage, but Greg pleaded for us to keep moving toward higher ground, remembering how flooded it became in 2004 before we were evacuated due to a tornado warning.

We finally settled in front of the Soul Shine stage and set up our tent as the wind picked up and the sky turned darker to threaten a repeat, but my phone told me we were safe, so we trudged on. Chloe sat on tarps and flaps to keep them from blowing away, and soon our $60 tent was erected. Note to self - Investigate $100 tents next time.

By the time we’d tested out the facilities, bought snacks, and chugged Gatoraides while walking the length of the grounds – it was already after nine and the sun was starting to set. We caught the tail end of Trichrome at the wooded Camping stage and then trudged through the dust to the Star Shine stage at the far north end to check out Cornmeal. By eleven we were ready to call it a night.

Armed with a roll of toilet paper, I scrubbed the port-o-let seat for Chloe, not yet tall enough to execute the acrobatic feat of hovering over the stanky hole while keeping your shorts from touching the floor (note to self – buy one of those camping toilet tents for next time), and then we crawled into our tent to add the first layer of dust to our bedding.

Since our tent was just outside of the Soul Shine stage, we were treated to the Chicago Super Jam from 12-3am, hosted by Zmick & Old Shoe with special guest – Family Groove Company whose bassist, Janis Wallin, I met at a bass workshop on Sunday.

We woke early on Friday, and sought out the air-conditioned bathrooms on the opposite side of the grounds. They were gloriously clean and even flushed. Greg paid his $3.00 to shower (I opted to wait until Saturday to fight my dusty, tangled hair battle), and then we were off to Shakedown to see our breakfast options.

I dropped my phone off at the phone charger lady, and then we waited an abnormally long time for Chloe’s $8.00 pancakes. I wasn’t hungry, so I paid my $4.00 for the first of an insane number of iced teas and lemon shake-ups.

The first band of the day was moe.. We were early and sat in partial shade in front of the soundboard. When the Earth rotated to face the blistering, non-time sun, we bugged out and headed to the shaded back of the Moon Shine stage area located on the far South side of the campgrounds.

After settling in at the tree line, we were told that poison ivy had been spotted and to use some weed (don’t remember its name) if we broke out in a rash. We bugged out again started to walk back around the fence to the grass in front of the woods. Three people noticed our evacuation and jumped up to hold a breached section of the fence down for us to climb over, giggling with happiness that they could make our next five minutes more enjoyable. It was then that I remembered why I love these kind of festivals. The people are different, the mood is different, everyone is happy and helpful. When I grow up I want to live at a festival (Chloe doesn’t share that opinion).

More to follow…

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Off to Summer Camp

Stephanie is off to Summer Camp.  We will get no posts from her for a short while.  But I asked her to tell me about this Summer Camp music festival.  She invited me along but I'm too boring, hate camping and have too much going down with the kid's last days of school.  I do miss going to Dead shows with Steph but I was never the music festival lover.  The Dead shows were different.  (at least to me)  Stephanie loves them and I'm glad she gets to go to this one.  Here's what she had to say about the whole thing...

I'm off to Summer Camp 2012 ( tomorrow with Greg and Chloe.  I'm very excited.  We haven't been to a big multi-day festival since Bonaroo 2009. At Summer Camp, you have to park your car at the festival entrance and then haul all of your camping stuff to your site.  It's cool because the scene inside is more magical without all of the cars, but it's a lot more work to get setup, and you have to travel REAL light. We learned our lesson the first time we went.
There was a tornado warning. Everyone had to packup all of their stuff in five minutes and rush everything to their cars.  There were 50 mph winds and hail. We brought Chloe (she was 9 months old). I was rolling her stroller through mud puddles with our sleeping bags hanging off of my neck and a duffle bag sitting on the stroller canopy over her head. Greg was carrying everything else.
We got special treatment since we had Chloe and got to hang out with the bands in the "safe" structure (the only structure), before the parking lot to wait until Greg got the car packed up. They gave us hot chocolate. I like being a girl.
The main bands we are going to see this weekend are: Bob Weir's acoustic trio, moe., Umphry's, Primus, Jane's Addiction, Keller Williams, ...
Brian Markovitz from asked me to take a few pictures and write a couple of blurbs about the weekend. He tried to hook up a press pass, but I think it was too late to make it happen. I'll still try to get an interview if possible, and I definitely want to find a way to get a copy of the book to Bobby.
I want to use my phone to tweet cool stuff here and there, but I don't think they will have charging stations, and I don't know if I will even have wi-fi reception there - I'll try, if not - I'll dump it all when I get back.  I wish you were going too!

Thanks Steph!  When Stephanie returns she has promised a full review of the festival.  I look forward to hearing all about it.  Even if I am too lame to go.  :)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

What are your biggest fears?

I think I’m afraid of success. The prospect of it scares me, mostly financial success – getting money drunk and not managing the earnings properly – or becoming gluttonous to the point of desensitization, or having financial success, and then loosing it. 

This happened in 2006 when I found myself unemployed, paying two mortgages (one on a house that was being trashed by non-paying renters), and didn’t find a suitable job for six months. Being forced to be frugal, after having loads of discretionary cash, was a sobering experience – but the experience made me appreciate good steaks and leather seats all the more once we dug ourselves out of debt.

I think I need to re-read Shakti Gawain’s book, ‘Creative Visualization’, to put the success of ‘Scarlet Begonias’ and the concept of abundance into perspective. I didn’t expect to have the number of sales (before Kindle availability) and web site visits in the first month of publication.

I’m planning to use the profits to fund Chloe’s college fund and mine and Greg’s retirement fund.  If I don’t see the money, I won’t fear it.

Even more than success, I’m afraid of conflict. I’ll do just about anything to avoid it. In the 13 years that I’ve been with Greg, I think we’ve only had one or two real fights, and they occurred sometime in the first two years. I do, however, fight with my 8 year old daughter, Chloe. I find her unhappiness excruciating, and she knows it. She’s become an emotional terrorist – actually she’s been one since birth.

And even more than my fear of conflict – of an inability to diplomatically resolve them - or of knowing when to swallow my pride and when to stand my ground, I fear that I won’t conquer that fear before Chloe is a teenager. She’s not the boss of me!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

When Would You Go?

If you could time travel...WHEN...would you go?

I feel like I already answered this question.  I could swear I tried to anyway.  I don't think I want to actually TIME TRAVEL until I can workout Robert A. Heinlein's (All You Zombies) Paradox. 
"'—All You Zombies—'" chronicles a young man (later revealed to be intersex) taken back in time and tricked into impregnating his younger, female self (before he underwent a sex change); he thus turns out to be the offspring of that union, with the paradoxical result that he is his own mother and father. As the story unfolds, all the major characters are revealed to be the same person, at different stages of her/his life. - A chart that tries to map out the paradox.
(Note: this might make it appear that there is a 2-dimensional time continuum, but that is not the case. The various lines are simply separated for demonstration purposes. Furthermore, the diagram can be thought of as being the viewpoint that a fifth-dimensional observer would have. All of the first four dimensions, 3 space and one of time are contained in the lines going back and forth across the page and we are looking at them from the next higher dimensional viewpoint.)
This paradox currently reinforces my opinion that there is no such thing as TIME TRAVEL, only PERCEPTION TRAVEL.  And I could really swear that I've already answered this question once already!
Now, I can ignore my opinion and pretend that I really believe in time travel (like the excellent adventure of Bill and Ted) and try to pick a date in the history or future that I am curious about. But I really don't have the desire, because where ever I go, there I am. And I like I Am-ing right here, right now.  I used to want to go further...but I think I am there.
OK, I know you still aren't happy with my answer.  Let's say I decide that I want to go forward in time when we all have bionic bodies that never wear out. Think about the implications...
Did you ever read 'Jitterbug Perfume' by Tom Robbins?  I just realized that I was strongly influenced by this book, much more so that I'd ever thought.
"The universe does not have laws. It has habits. And habits can be broken".

Friday, May 18, 2012

Dead Shows

Today I want to know more about Stephanie's interest in the Dead.  After all the book is titled Scarlet Begonia's after one of their best songs (IMO).  So I asked her to tell me about her favorite show/shows or favorite moments.

I know I’m kind of rambling, but it’s just stream of consciousness. A funny thing about that Las
Vegas show was that I met a guy named Vince who came to the show from San Diego with a girl
who was the ex-girlfriend of my boyfriend’s frat brother. Anyway, I’d been reading the Carlos
Castanedas books like a fiend and was in the middle of ‘Journey to Ixtlan’ and was all jazzed up
on talking about dreaming and finding my hands and stuff, and this guy Vince “got it”. After
that night I never saw him again. Years later, Kim (you) were working at Bed, Bath, and Beyond
and said that you worked with an artist who used to live in San Diego and I knew right then that
it was the same guy – and it was

Another particularly stellar moment that came to mind was version of ‘Matilda’ played at
the Pyramid (Tennessee?) in 1994 or 1995. There was a guest drummer and my mind was
completely blown away – I’ve never heard it again since then, but I’m pretty sure they were
whipping up some mighty magic there. If anyone has a copy, I’d love to check it out.

GD Ticket Stub – 1991 Las Vegas (copied from internet, mine were mail-order)
Ad image
Sam Boyd Silver Bowl
April 27, 1991
Las Vegas, NV US
Touch of Grey

Walkin' Blues
Friend of the Devil
Mexicali Blues
Maggie's Farm
Loose Lucy
Might as Well

Sugar Magnolia
Scarlet Begonias
Fire on the Mountain
Playin' in the Band
Uncle John's Band
I Need a Miracle
Black Peter
One More Saturday Night

The Weight

April 28, 1991

Notes: "Casino Space" during "Drumz" - last "Sunshine Daydream": 07-16-90 [61] - Carlos Santana opened

Set List:

Jack Straw
Wang Dang Doodle
Me and My Uncle
Big River
Bird Song

Foolish Heart
Saint of Circumstance
Crazy Fingers
The Other One
Wharf Rat
Around and Around
Sunshine Daydream

Box Of Rain

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Next Book?

Today's question for Stephanie is:  
What would you do differently if you were to write another book?  Her response gives us some cool insight into her writing struggles and what she's learned.

I started working with an editor, Jennifer Baumer, after I’d been writing ‘Scarlet Begonias’ for about a year and found out that I’d written the first 150 pages using a frack’d up point of view.  I was using a 3rdperson narrator, but I wanted to be inside everybody’s head at once, and that just isn’t allowed.  So, I ended up assigning each chapter to a character, and allowed my narrator to be privy to the contents of one head per chapter.  I also only allowed the reader to hear the internal chatter (written in italics) of a character if it was ‘their’ chapter.  I spent months of backtracking and cutting in order to clean up the POV issues.

Also at around the 150 page mark (after cleaning up the POV), I bought Noah Lukeman’s book ‘The First Five Pages: A Writer's Guide To Staying Out of the Rejection Pile’ (or did you buy that for me?  yes).  This book made it abundantly clear that I had to re-write the first 150 again.  I started with the first five pages, and re-wrote them for about a month.  Sometimes I would spend an hour on a paragraph.  But, after implementing the POV lessons and the lessons from Lukeman’s book (as well as those from ‘The Elements of Style’ by William Strunk, E. B. White and Roger Angell), I had transformed myself into a real writer.

So, for my next book, I think I can trim about a year or more off of the 3.5 years it took me to write (and re-write, and re-write) this one.

One thing that I won’t change is the need to craft and stick to an outline. Without it, I would have been a rambling idiot.  When I started, my outline had about 25 chapters, each with distinct settings, characters, and a basic description of my goal for plot development.  I initially kept my chapters short, and only tried to accomplish the goal of moving the story forward, not caring if the dialog was shallow or my sentence structure sounded like a 5th grader was writing it.  My goal was to write five pages per chapter, which was a very realistic goal on a chapter by chapter basis.  And then, before I knew it, I’d written 125 very crappy pages!

But, once you poop out those first 100+ pages, and let it just be stinky poop, then you’re really rolling.  It’s all downhill and super-fun after that.  I love editing.

OK, another thing that I would change is to be more organized.  I wrote on my laptop on the train and copied stuff to a flash drive to save at work so I could email it to my editor and emailed little blurbs of wiki research to myself and rammed post-its into my backpack with single words to jog my memory about something (my memory is AWFUL). After writing this, I realize that it just won’t be possible.  I am a scattered writer – period. Even now I have a bunch of email addresses, and a website, and facebook, and linked in, and create space, and the cosmicpals blog, and twitter – staying organized is very hard.

Monday, May 14, 2012

String Theory

Well I asked for Stephanie's thoughts on String Theory and I got that and more.

My thoughts / questions on string theory:
1)  How were the intitial strings (filaments of energy) detected in the 1970s.  Or are the strings theoretical from the get go?
2) Below (in The Basic Elements of String Theory) it says "you can’t construct a string theory without closed strings."   My gut tells me that you can't have a theory of everything with open strings.  Everything is spherical (eliptical), elastic, and the sum of which always totals 100%.
3)  I think of energy filaments as cosmic music (vibrations at frequencies which far exceed our limited perception between 20 and 20,000 hz).  However, the music is made with "strings" that are spherical(ish) and connected, not like a guitar string that has a beginning and ending.  Cosmic music has always existed and always will, and the concept of time provides the space which allows us to observe the vibration of the strings. 
4) As far as quantum gravity, I view gravity as external pressure upon an object, not a pulling inward due to mass.  I imagine that objects are dense because of space-time displacement.  This occurs when the vibrations of the membranes (musical onion skins that form the closed, spherical(ish) universe) interact with eachother to cause interference (density) or phase cancellation (vacuums) - imagine throwing a handful of pebbles into a lake and watching the patterns (peaks and valleys) of the overlapping concentric circles that form. This view of gravity could be wrong, but it just seems right. 
5) Compactification of dimensions - I have a problem with the concept of dimension to begin with.  On the grandest of scales (which is the vantage point we are aiming for), the limitations of dimensions keep us from imagining the whole enchilada as a borg-like, single unit.
Dimensionless concepts


Main article: Dimensionless number
The dimensionless constants that arise in the results obtained, such as the C in the Poiseuille's Law problem and the \kappa in the spring problems discussed above come from a more detailed analysis of the underlying physics, and often arises from integrating some differential equation. Dimensional analysis itself has little to say about these constants, but it is useful to know that they very often have a magnitude of order unity. This observation can allow one to sometimes make "back of the envelope" calculations about the phenomenon of interest, and therefore be able to more efficiently design experiments to measure it, or to judge whether it is important, etc.


Paradoxically, dimensional analysis can be a useful tool even if all the parameters in the underlying theory are dimensionless, e.g., lattice models such as the Ising model can be used to study phase transitions and critical phenomena. Such models can be formulated in a purely dimensionless way. As we approach the critical point closer and closer, the distance over which the variables in the lattice model are correlated (the so-called correlation length, \xi ) becomes larger and larger. Now, the correlation length is the relevant length scale related to critical phenomena, so one can, e.g., surmize on "dimensional grounds" that the non-analytical part of the free energy per lattice site should be \sim 1/\xi^{d} where d is the dimension of the lattice.
It has been argued by some physicists, e.g., Michael Duff,[4][6] that the laws of physics are inherently dimensionless. The fact that we have assigned incompatible dimensions to Length, Time and Mass is, according to this point of view, just a matter of convention, borne out of the fact that before the advent of modern physics, there was no way to relate mass, length, and time to each other. The three independent dimensionful constants: cħ, and G, in the fundamental equations of physics must then be seen as mere conversion factors to convert Mass, Time and Length into each other.
Just as in the case of critical properties of lattice models, one can recover the results of dimensional analysis in the appropriate scaling limit; e.g., dimensional analysis in mechanics can be derived by reinserting the constants ħ, c, and G (but we can now consider them to be dimensionless) and demanding that a nonsingular relation between quantities exists in the limit c\rightarrow \infty\hbar\rightarrow 0 and G\rightarrow  0. In problems involving a gravitational field the latter limit should be taken such that the field stays finite.

The Basic Elements of String Theory

Five key ideas are at the heart of string theory. Become familiar with these key elements of string theory right off the bat. Read on for the very basics of these five ideas of string theory in the sections below.

Strings and membranes

When the theory was originally developed in the 1970s, the filaments of energy in string theory were considered to be 1-dimensional objects: strings. (One-dimensional indicates that a string has only one dimension, length, as opposed to say a square, which has both length and height dimensions.)
These strings came in two forms — closed strings and open strings. An open string has ends that don’t touch each other, while a closed string is a loop with no open end. It was eventually found that these early strings, called Type I strings, could go through five basic types of interactions, as shown this figure.
Type I strings can go through five fundamental interactions, based on different ways of joining and
Type I strings can go through five fundamental interactions, based on different ways of joining and splitting.
The interactions are based on a string’s ability to have ends join and split apart. Because the ends of open strings can join together to form closed strings, you can’t construct a string theory without closed strings.
This proved to be important, because the closed strings have properties that make physicists believe they might describe gravity. Instead of just being a theory of matter particles, physicists began to realize that string theory may just be able to explain gravity and the behavior of particles.
Over the years, it was discovered that the theory required objects other than just strings. These objects can be seen as sheets, or branes. Strings can attach at one or both ends to these branes. A 2-dimensional brane (called a 2-brane) is shown in this figure.
In string theory, strings attach themselves to branes.
In string theory, strings attach themselves to branes.

Quantum gravity

Modern physics has two basic scientific laws: quantum physics and general relativity. These two scientific laws represent radically different fields of study. Quantum physics studies the very smallest objects in nature, while relativity tends to study nature on the scale of planets, galaxies, and the universe as a whole. (Obviously, gravity affects small particles too, and relativity accounts for this as well.) Theories that attempt to unify the two theories are theories of quantum gravity, and the most promising of all such theories today is string theory.

Unification of forces

Hand-in-hand with the question of quantum gravity, string theory attempts to unify the four forces in the universe — electromagnetic force, the strong nuclear force, the weak nuclear force, and gravity — together into one unified theory. In our universe, these fundamental forces appear as four different phenomena, but string theorists believe that in the early universe (when there were incredibly high energy levels) these forces are all described by strings interacting with each other.


All particles in the universe can be divided into two types: bosons and fermions. String theory predicts that a type of connection, calledsupersymmetry, exists between these two particle types. Under supersymmetry, a fermion must exist for every boson and vice versa. Unfortunately, experiments have not yet detected these extra particles.
Supersymmetry is a specific mathematical relationship between certain elements of physics equations. It was discovered outside of string theory, although its incorporation into string theory transformed the theory into supersymmetric string theory (or superstring theory) in the mid-1970s.
Supersymmetry vastly simplifies string theory’s equations by allowing certain terms to cancel out. Without supersymmetry, the equations result in physical inconsistencies, such as infinite values and imaginary energy levels.
Because scientists haven’t observed the particles predicted by supersymmetry, this is still a theoretical assumption. Many physicists believe that the reason no one has observed the particles is because it takes a lot of energy to generate them. (Energy is related to mass by Einstein’s famous E = mc2 equation, so it takes energy to create a particle.) They may have existed in the early universe, but as the universe cooled off and energy spread out after the big bang, these particles would have collapsed into the lower-energy states that we observe today. (We may not think of our current universe as particularly low energy, but compared to the intense heat of the first few moments after the big bang, it certainly is.)
Scientists hope that astronomical observations or experiments with particle accelerators will uncover some of these higher-energy supersymmetric particles, providing support for this prediction of string theory.

Extra dimensions

Another mathematical result of string theory is that the theory only makes sense in a world with more than three space dimensions! (Our universe has three dimensions of space — left/right, up/down, and front/back.) Two possible explanations currently exist for the location of the extra dimensions:
  • The extra space dimensions (generally six of them) are curled up (compactified, in string theory terminology) to incredibly small sizes, so we never perceive them.
  • We are stuck on a 3-dimensional brane, and the extra dimensions extend off of it and are inaccessible to us.
A major area of research among string theorists is on mathematical models of how these extra dimensions could be related to our own. Some of these recent results have predicted that scientists may soon be able to detect these extra dimensions (if they exist) in upcoming experiments, because they may be larger than previously expected.

Math Revisted

I asked Stephanie last week if she thought the universe was made of math.  Well, now that she has had time to think about it she'd like to add some more info to the math thingy.  

Here's the deal:

You had asked if everything was math, and I said no, that math describes everything, but maybe the answer should be that recurring patterns, like the fibonacci sequence's golden spiral and the golden ratio, and constants like pi, are the glue that binds together the inter-relatedness of everything.

In 2003, Volkmar Weiss and Harald Weiss analyzed psychometric data and theoretical considerations and concluded that the golden ratio underlies the clock cycle of brain waves.[52] In 2008 this was empirically confirmed by a group of neurobiologists.[53]
In 2010, the journal Science reported that the golden ratio is present at the atomic scale in the magnetic resonance of spins in cobalt niobate crystals.[54]
Several researchers have proposed connections between the golden ratio and human genome DNA.[55][56][57]
However, some have argued that many of the apparent manifestations of the golden mean in nature, especially in regard to animal dimensions, are in fact fictitious.[58]
 The golden ratio is also used in the analysis of financial markets, in strategies such as Fibonacci retracement.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Unraveling the Ego

YOU ASKED:  Is it possible to unravel the ego? And if so, to what end.

I AM ASKING YOU:  What does it mean to unravel the ego?  Please explain.

The disolution of the ego is a transcendence of the idea that one even has any actual, non-illusory "ego" with which to experience death in the first place.
Ego death is said to be characterized as the perceived loss of the accustomed feeling of existing as a "personal agent" and in its place, the perception that one is the whole universe (and therefore there is no need to differentiate the "I" from the "universe") or by simply acknowledging that the "I" does not exist.
According to Carlos Castaneda (via Don Juan):
For a sorcerer, reality, or the world we all know, is only a description that has been pounded into you from the moment you were born.  The reality of our day-to-day life, then, consists of an endless flow of perceptual interpretations which we have learned to make in common.
I am teaching you how to see as opposed to merely looking, andstopping the world is the first step to seeing.  The sorcerer's description of the world is perceivable. But our insistence on holding on to our standard version of reality renders us almost deaf and blind to it.

When you begin this teaching, there is another reality, that is to say, there is a sorcery description of the world, which you do not know. As a sorcerer and a teacher, I am teaching you that description. What I am doing with you consists, therefore, in setting up that unknown reality by unfolding its description, adding increasingly more complex parts as you go along.

In order to arrive at seeing one first has to stop the worldStopping the world is indeed an appropriate rendition of certain states of awareness in which the reality of everyday life is altered because the flow of interpretation, which ordinarily runs uninterruptedly, has been stopped by a set of circumstances alien to that flow. In this case the set of circumstances alien to our normal flow of interpretations is the sorcery description of the world. The precondition for stopping the world is that one has to be convinced; in other words, one has to learn the new description in a total sense, for the purpose of pitting it against the old one, and in that way break the dogmatic certainty, which we all share, that the validity of our perceptions, or our reality of the world, is not to be questioned.

After stopping the world the next step is seeing. By that I mean what could be categorized as responding to the perceptual solicitations of a world outside the description we have learned to call reality.

Friday, May 11, 2012


After watching the pilot episode of a TV show called Touch, I couldn't help but ask myself, is the universe  made of math?  How the hell should I know?  BUT THEN!  I thought of my cosmic pal, Stephanie and figured she could give me a good answer on this one.  Of course she did.  :)


Math is just a language to try and explain the universe.  There’s lots of kinds of math (geometry, non-Euclidean geometry, trigonometry, algebra, calculus, linear algebra, probability, …) and lots of sub-languages.  Some of the different sub-languages work well together, some are hard to relate.

Since most people (me included) will never understand the math needed to talk about the universe at the level of subtlety required to really poke at its underbelly, we are forced to believe what the Math Shamans tell us.

But we can think about (and construct new) concepts as theoretical mathematicians and possibly drive the number crunchers to devise a new math to test the voracity of our claims.

My next book will deal with prime numbers and their relationship to music (harmonics, tension, frequency, and trigonometry). 

If anyone has worked with the Riemann Hypothesis (Zeta Function), please contact me.
In mathematics, the Riemann hypothesis, proposed by Bernhard Riemann (1859), is a conjecture about the location of the nontrivial zeros of the Riemann zeta function which states that all non-trivial zeros (as defined below) have real part 1/2. The name is also used for some closely related analogues, such as the Riemann hypothesis for curves over finite fields.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Today's question is: Have you ever experienced anything you would consider "supernatural"?

The supernatural (Medieval Latin: supernātūrālis: supra "above" +naturalis "nature", first used: 1520–30 AD)[1][2] is that which is not subject to the laws of nature, or more figuratively, that which is said to exist above and beyond nature.

But it’s all natural.  How can you experience more than all?

Bummer.  I was hoping for a good UFO or ghost story or a vision of God or something.  :)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Other Dimensions

I asked Stephanie what she thought about other dimensions.  Here is what she said.


Dimension - In physics and mathematics, the dimension of a space or object is informally defined as the minimum number of coordinates needed to specify any point within it.

Physical theories that incorporate time, such as general relativity, are said to work in 4-dimensional "space-time", (defined as a Minkowski space). Modern theories tend to be "higher-dimensional" including quantum field and string theories. The state-space of quantum mechanics is an infinite-dimensional function space. A tesseract is an example of a four-dimensional object.

A connected topological manifold is locally homeomorphic to Euclidean n-space, and the number n is called the manifold's dimension. One can show that this yields a uniquely defined dimension for every connected topological manifold. For connected differential manifolds the dimension is also the dimension of the tangent vector space at any point.

*** Did you notice that the main character of the book is named Mannie Foldsky (get it?)

The best-known treatment of time as a dimension is Poincaré and Einstein's special relativity (and extended to general relativity), which treats perceived space and time as components of a four-dimensional manifold, known as spacetime, and in the special, flat case as Minkowski space.

Superstring theory, M-theory and Bosonic string theory respectively posit that physical space has 10, 11 and 24 dimensions. These extra dimensions are said to be spatial. However, we perceive only three spatial dimensions and, to date, no experimental or observational evidence is available to confirm the existence of these extra dimensions. A possible explanation that has been suggested is that space acts as if it were "curled up" in the extra dimensions on a subatomic scale, possibly at the quark/string level of scale or below.

** This is what I have to say about String Theory – “Hogwash!”
I don’t know enough about the math to make the call with 100% certainty, but 11 dimensions seems preposterous and hardly elegant.

A Calabi–Yau manifold is a special type of manifold that shows up in certain branches of mathematics such as algebraic geometry, as well as in theoretical physics. Particularly in superstring theory, the extra dimensions of spacetime are sometimes conjectured to take the form of a 6-dimensional Calabi–Yau manifold.

*** I liked the look of this thing, so I started to imagine what six dimensions was all about.  It was the Calabi-Yau manifold that inspired the topology of the Qualia Spectarum – the map of the Dreamscape.
Description: File:Calabi yau.jpg

The other manifold that got my attention was the Klein bottle (the form of the bongs that the glass blowing Wiccans, Teek and Voltar, make in the book).  A Klein bottle is a non-orientable surface, informally, a surface (a two-dimensional manifold) in which notions of left and right cannot be consistently defined. Other related non-orientable objects include the Möbius strip and the real projective plane. Whereas a Möbius strip is a surface with boundary, a Klein bottle has no boundary. (For comparison, a sphere is an orientable surface with no boundary.)
Description: File:Klein bottle.svgDescription: File:Moebius strip.svg

*** What was the original question?... Thoughts on other dimensions
I think that there are theoretically infinite dimensions (I am a multi-dimensional database architect) and I can make an infinite number of dimensions which define a fact table.  However, the more dimensions you add, the larger the fact table will grow to accommodate all of the possible permutations until you need a computer the size of Texas to find out the answer to your question.