[Author's note: Even if you decide to skip reading the entire report, you should check out the last paragraph or so of Saturday night's dream and premonition.]
Four ice hockey games and a few bicycle rides in five days finds me
exhausted. And yet I have volunteered to pick up Mom and Dad's van from
parking lot B near LAX. [Volunteering because it gives me a chance to ride
my bicycle through some diverse neighborhoods and allows me to live by
"We examine the attractive hypothesis that networks poised at the edge of chaos can perform the most complex tasks." (Kauffman, 1993, pg. 177)
My emotional state is currently poised at the edge of chaos. And, as suggested by Levy and Epstein, general populations improve their overall suitability with the presence of predators in their environment. In my case, I have to go looking for predators to help out my cause in the long term. Hence the bicycle ride through Compton and Watts.]
So I ride over to Mom and Dad's house, put the bicycle in the van, and drive to lot B. And pull the bicycle out of the van and head for home. A good ride through Lennox, Watts, Compton, and North Long Beach at midday on the hottest day of the year - with only a few sprints to make traffic lights so that I am not stationary in questionable neighborhoods. Towards the end of the ride I am tired and just crawling along. I'm whipped! When I get home, there is a bit of blood when I relieve myself.
I take Friday off and agree to meet a coworker at the Long Beach Hooters restaurant on Pine Avenue. I show up, on my day off from work, in business attire including white shirt and tie. The coworker wonders what is up, but I brush aside the line of questioning with stares at the waitresses. I consider whether to give a business card to a waitress or not, but decide against it.
While speaking with a coworker about the Russian submarine rescue attempt, he mentions the USS Tang. And I get excited and have to find out more! A net search indicates that the original USS Tang, a highly effective submarine during World War II for the first 13 months of it's duty, was sank by it's own torpedo! And a second USS Tang was finally decommissioned in 1980 and sold to Turkey. So now we have a dynasty, a record company, and two submarines named after a breakfast drink! And, of course, a racecar sponsored by the breakfast drink.
On Monday night we have our championship deciding game. We take the lead 1-0 in the first minute of play. It is a good back and forth game and ends in regulation tied 3-3. We play the first overtime and the game is still tied. We play the second overtime and the game is still tied. We start into the third overtime at some hour when we should all be fast asleep. I get the puck, skate it just over the red line (at center ice), and flip a wrist shot on goal at the goalie. The puck takes a skip just before it reaches the goalie and the weird thing is that I hear no sound - like the puck hitting the goalie's stick or pads. The puck is in the back of the net! Game and championship winner in triple overtime scored by Dr. Ray Manning! I'm mobbed by my teammates as they are happy to win the game and relieved that the game is finally over. We, of course, go out to celebrate after the game at some ridiculous hour on a Monday night. And now I await the phone calls for the book deal.
After seeing the picture of facial expressions from the 1976 Olympics at http://www.sciam.com/specialissues/0900sports/0900zorpettebox4.html I realize that I have to go out and do intervals. So I jump on my bicycle and start doing intervals - one minute all out sprint followed by one minute of (partial) recovery. I do this down the LA river trail and turn around and do it up the LA river trail. I am in pain! I am sure that my facial expression is as pained as in the picture. This reminds me of the PTA training (i.e., pain, torture, agony training) that we used to do when I ran cross country in college. As I approach the turn off point of the LA river and before I head for home, I approach a hill towards the end of a sprint interval and give it everything I've got. And at the top of the hill I resign and say "I give up. That's it for today". I crawl home with my legs, lungs, and kidneys (!) in absolute pain! It has been a good ride. When I arrive home I cannot climb the two stairs into the house without first laying down on the concrete patio and resting for a while. And there is a little bit of blood when I relieve myself after the ride - an indicator that I was working just about right.
Living by another quote,
"Moreover I shall suggest that there are general principles characterizing
complex systems able to adapt: They achieve a poised state near the
boundary between order and chaos, a state which optimizes the complexity
of tasks the systems can perform and simultaneously optimizes
(Kauffman, 1993, pg. 173)
I head for the Frat House on Friday night. Most of the usual crowd is there.
ChiChi is there with his new...um...friend. The three of us speak of various
subjects. When ChiChi explains that he is an alien, his friend says that he
has brought some psychology books with him to try to determine if ChiChi
says this because:
1) ChiChi is trying to mask an inadequacy of some sort, or
2) ChiChi wants to be at the center of the conversation.
But I interrupt and volunteer, to a disbelieving new friend, that there is a third, more likely option: 3) That ChiChi is telling the truth!
I eventually steer the conversation to other topics. Sabrina, the HVAC, is there in an elegant emerald wrap over a silver sequined mini-skirt matched with black vinyl knee height boots with a very tall heel. Alex is nowhere to be found. The crowd has been down for a few weeks now because of summer vacations.
On Saturday afternoon, after a good morning bicycle ride and a decent
session lifting weights, I head to the Sunset Junction street festival in
Silverlake. I do this mainly because I want to see the band Kommunity FK
again and I just want to mingle with people. Kommunity FK, a hardcore
punk, deathrock band, is okay. Just okay. The festival is a great mix of
families, latinos/as, gay/lesbians, punkers, metalheads, geeks, dweebs,
dorks, and others. I determine that I fall somewhere between the geek and
dork category. The various hair styles/colors seen are buzzed short, medium
length, long, bleached, dyed deep black, curly, straight, green, red, blue,
platinum, yellow, pink, and lavender. The tattoos...well...we won't go there.
Two great t-shirts stick out in my mind:
1) 9 out of 10 kids prefer crayons to guns
2) Devil Worshipping Whore (On a black, of course, t-shirt with green, blood-dripping lettering.)
I see one or two acquaintances from 13-17 years ago when I was messing around with...um...the scene. They seem to see me and try to place me or else see me and ignore me. It doesn't matter anymore, but it was good to see that they are still alive. More or less alive, that is! I do not stay late at the festival because I am tired and the moons are starting to show under my eyes - a sure sign that I need sleep!
Saturday night I wake up in the middle of the night after an interesting dream and premonition. It is 6 or 8 or 10 months from now and excitement is in the air. We are sitting at Vandenberg Air Force Base with the EOS Aqua spacecraft poised for launch. The countdown starts and is going smoothly. Suddenly there is a halt to the countdown. There has been a security breach and somebody is running up to the Delta II launch vehicle with a sledgehammer. The cameras try to zoom in on the person. Oh no! This can't be happening to me! It is somebody that I know. The person takes the sledgehammer and starts hitting a stand that holds the Delta II up. The Delta II, with EOS Aqua spacecraft aboard, is tipping over and comes crashing to the ground. The requisite explosion and fire occur. The NASA launch controller comes over the radio and announces "I have just been given a sheet of paper describing the rationale for the event that just happened. The person says that he has destroyed the rocket and spaceship because he is an alien and doesn't want earth people discovering his planet. And because he is mad at an ex of his and wanted to get back at him. The note is signed by a person named ChiChi." (The ground controller actually pronounces the name ChiChi as ChaiChai rather than CheeChee.) I have my head hung in my hands - refusing to believe what I have just witnessed.
Kauffman, Stuart A., "The Origins of Order", Oxford University Press, 1993.
Levy, Steven, "Artificial Life", Vintage Books, 1992.
Epstein, Joshua M. and Axtell, Robert, "Growing Artificial Societies: Social Science from the Bottom Up", Brookings Institution Press, 1996.