Monday, June 26, 2006

Basil and Josephine

When I read these stories a few years ago, I thought they should be required reading for every teenager in America; amended perhaps to 'in the World'.

The first story isn't really a Basil story, though someone, the editor?, claims otherwise. It's more like Basil in the womb. The second story made me laugh out loud. Maybe the last story made me cry. I read half of them while drinking my Miller 'Lite' free beers at some hotel in Anaheim. Most of them left me with a smile on my face. As I closed the book I wrote something on the front page about somebodies having possession of certain parts of my soul... Maybe good beer?

This is something you should share with your children. If you have a little boy or girl, you should give them this book for their birthday when they turn fourteen. But before you do that, you should read it yourself. So that it becomes something you share rather than give. ... and as such perhaps becomes a greater gift.


Friday, June 16, 2006

The Kiss

The other night I dreamed about kissing a girl. In some ways she was Eva Longoria but in some ways she was just some pretty girl with dark eyes. Was Matthew McCoughfeehead there? Who knows? There was some other guy there that I was talking to. There was a boat and we were on a river trip. And the three of us were in a room, and it was like we were hatching some plot, but the girl kept catching my eye, and I knew there was something about her, and then somehow I approached her and kissed her, and she didn't resist. And I couldn't help think but that was all I wanted to do, was to hold her in this embrace and kiss her... I wanted her to know this, that that's all I wanted was to kiss her...

Later I was distracted, and she was gone. The boat arrived at a fountain, and when I got out I climbed stairs, which led to this restaurant or country club, where some doorman or matr'dee barred my entry. There was some young man with long hair that I thought I recognised from Amsterdam there, climbing stairs inside the club. I thought he gave me a sympathetic look... I couldn't help thinking that I was missing something.

Philosophy of a Quarkington

A long time ago, I stumbled upon a belief,... it is somehow guided by the theory of relativity, and by the Jim Croce song, time in a bottle. The belief is simple: that if we are nothing else, we are time bottles. Perhaps only cast upon a lonely sea, with some vague hope that there is another shore. But nevertheless this is what we are.
The theory of relativity states that as a body approaches the speed of light time slows down; but it also states that the object becomes progressively 'flatter'; i.e. becomes two dimensional. It sort of states that you can never actually travel at the speed of light. Nevertheless, there are objects that do travel at the speed of light, and these objects are by definition 'flat'. They also are by definition 'out of time'; i.e. they exist in a universe 'without time'. Oddly enough though, they also exist in a universe with 'time' as a dimension.
I have sometimes wondered if I could stand on a flat photon, and ask it some questions, I would ask it about time, and get a blank stare; I would also ask it about its speed, but seeing as speed by definition contains the element of time (i.e. miles per hour/second, what have you), I would also get a blank stare. So, if instead of 'some questions', I was only allowed, by the powers that be, a single question, I would ask what it knows about distance. My imagination tells me that the photon would break out in a grin, and explain about the infinite vectors of distance. But my imagination may be fanciful here. The photon may still only exhibit the dreaded blank stare.
Anyway I want the photon to know about the distance it has travelled, but I also want it to know about the direction. It is a pleasant thought to think that the photon from some distant galaxy travelled all that distance, just to land on my retina; I want the photon to know that it chose this direction, and that it knew there were an infinite number of other paths it could have chosen. I also want it to know that there were an infinite number of other directions it could have chosen, that were not part of a 'flat' universe; i.e. that there were three dimensions to this universe; not just two. That besides going east and west, north and south, and around a compass, that it knew it could climb stairs or shoot off towards the moon like a rocket.
Now you may wonder why I would care about whether the flat photon is aware of the three dimensional universe it inhabits (remember it doesn't have time). It may be that the photon only perceives one dimension, i.e. the direction it is going in ->; but like a tipped football, a photon's path may be changed; i.e. by bouncing off a wall, passing through a lens, passing by a star; my hope is that the photon knows that the path was changed...
Why is this significant you say...? For me it would make me feel akin to the photon, because like the two dimensional object existing in a three dimensional universe, my initial perception of my existence is that I am a three dimensional object existing in a four dimensional universe; i.e.: I am a mass of 218 pounds (I'm sorry, I realise pounds take another factor into account; i.e. gravity, but I don't know how many kilograms I am and I don't want to do the math) walking around between the years 1953 and now. It is significant to me because it would also make me believe in a progression: i.e. single dimension objects exist in a two dimensional universe; two in a three; three in a four, etc... It also begs the question, am I only a three dimensional object? I see a rock, or understand a atom of hydrogen, is three dimensional, and these are difined only in there relationship to time (oh and by their mass of course (and oddly enough distance) (i.e. that e=mc2 thing).) But these are not the same thing that I am, which gets us back to that whole Jim Croce thing, that one of the dimensions of who I am is time. That besides my 218 pounds I have 47 years to measure out on a ruler; also my height, breadth, etc. If the progression were be extrapolated therefore, I am a four dimensional object existing in a fifth dimensional universe. And what is that fifth dimension, you ask? Simply, life.
And so like the photon grinning at it's infinite directions in space, I, you, we all should be grinning about the infinite number of directions we can travel through life. But also, and this is probably the most important thing, that like the photon existing in a universe that has a dimension of time that it is not aware of, like the rock living in the universe with a dimension of life that it is not aware of, that we, life, most likely live in a universe that has many more supra-dimensions that we are not aware of. Which also gets us back to that e=mc2 thing. That if the rock owes its existence to the two dimensional object of light, and we somehow owe are existence to three dimensional objects known as atoms, that perhaps there is some supradimensional object, that owes it's existence (is constructed of) the 5 dimensional object of life, or lives; that my miniscule 218x47 year object, may in someway contribute the construction of a miniscule nerve cell on the backbone of for lack of a better word, the 'god' object.
And so that is my whole philosophy in a handful of paragraphs, though it doesn't really explain anything...

A flat object is a two dimensional object; think of a plain, Kansas if you will; you can go north and south or even to Iowa, but you can't go to the moon, at least not without rocket science.


Destiny is usually just around the corner. Like a thief, a hooker, or a lottery vendor: its three most common personifications. But what destiny does not do is home visits. You have to go for it.

From The Shadow of the Wind, By Carlos Ruiz Zafon