We all know that Botox is used cosmetically to reduce wrinkles, but it has other uses. It started as a treatment for crossed eyes, and now it’s used to treat chronic migraines (lasting over four hours a day at least 15 days a month), essential tremors, and a number of other ailments. The use that intrigues me is lessening the symptoms of depression. Botox is injected between the eyebrows to keep depressed people from frowning, and it helps.

But the use that makes me laugh is by a company called Pokertox. It injects Botox into the faces of card players so they’re insured of having poker faces. Creativity is not dead.

Do you know of anyone who has ever used Botox?


Posted in Life As a Shared Adventure | 3 Comments


Yesterday I talked about the line in a shareholder’s report:

We improved revenue performance by slowing the rate of decline.

Andy and I thought that was funny. I wasn’t so tickled when I got this message on my Mac the other day:

Time Machine completed a verification of your backups. To improve reliability, Time Machine must create a new backup for you. Click Start New Backup to create a new backup. This will remove your existing backup history. This could take several hours. Click Back Up Later to be reminded tomorrow. Time Machine won’t perform backups during this time.

Huh? They verified my backups and are going to remove all history of them? Sure enough, they did remove all traces. Why make me have to contact Apple (I didn’t have luck looking on the internet and am still covered under Apple Care) to find out they meant

Time Machine has discovered your backups have been corrupted and can’t repair them. You will lose all access to them and will have to start over — this may take several hours. If you want to wait, click Back Up Later to be reminded tomorrow. Time Machine won’t perform perform backups during this time.

Did they really think using the terms verify and reliability would make me miss the fact the system failed to protect my backups? That didn’t happen. They just wasted my time on top of everything else.

Has obscure language ever wasted your time? Was it because the person writing/speaking had poor communication skills, was trying to put a positive spin on a situation, or because lawyers somehow got involved?


Posted in Life As a Shared Adventure | 9 Comments

Better Than Nothing

A line in a recent shareholder’s report:

We improved revenue performance by slowing the rate of decline.

It’s better than nothing, but we’re not apt to buy more shares.


Posted in Life As a Shared Adventure | 2 Comments

Lunar Eclipse


Lunar Eclipse, NASA

It was cloudy Monday morning, so we didn’t think we had a chance of seeing the total lunar eclipse. But then it cleared off in the afternoon, and we had a great view from our porch in the wee hours of Tuesday morning. I was playing in here and went out every half hour or so, and Andy got up to see it in its prime, with the reddish copper glow.

It reminded us of an eclipse when Kaitlin was young. We spent the night on the land and watched the event from the comfort of our sleeping bags. Neat stuff.


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The Snail

The Snail by Henri Matisse

The Snail by Henri Matisse

Right click on photo for Tate Museum version.

It’s not supposed to look like a snail. It’s how Matisse felt about snails:

For me nature is always present. It is always when I am in direct accord with my sensations of nature that I feel I have the right to depart from them, the better to render what I feel.

I confess, it took me a while to figure out where the essence of the snail was, and I’m tempted to do my own with that part a bit more pronounced. But the piece does inspire me. I like Matisse’s cutouts better than his paintings because I like the colors and simplicity.

In Masterpiece: A Radical’s Emancipation of Color Richard Cork says of The Snail

The cutout technique enables Matisse to emancipate colors, so that they can sing with even more festive abandon than he had achieved in his most daring oil paintings.

I won’t argue with that. I’m all for colors singing with festive abandon.

Cork says when he was an adolescent he showed his school art teacher a picture of it in a magazine. The teacher said testily,

Oh, sonny, anyone can daub flat paint on pieces of paper, cut them up with scissors and stick them together like this.

That sounds good to me. Festive abandon it is.


Posted in Life As a Shared Adventure | 12 Comments

Second Childhood


I usually throw my experiments away, but I’m going to keep this one. It was made on cheap paper with a foam stencil dauber and the black watercolor from my Klutz Watercolor: For the Artistically Undiscovered.


Nowadays when people ask me what I’m doing, I say,

Enjoying my second childhood even more than I did my first one.

What about you? How does your life right now compare with your childhood?


Posted in Life As a Shared Adventure | 10 Comments


I’m looking for a good brush for lettering, and I came across this explanation of why Winsor and Newton brushes — once top of the line — are no longer consistent:

Basically, what it comes down to is time spent in a single location. Brush making takes years, even decades to learn, and making the kolinsky sable brushes is the hardest, requiring workers who’ve been brush makers for 20 years or more. If a brush company moves it’s facilities, (W&N), and the brush makers don’t or can’t follow, their experience is lost, and therefore the quality. You do still see, every so often, a decent W&N brush, but the rarity of them leads me to conjecture it may be as little as one person making those elusive few. I imagine an old man, surrounded by fumbling whipper-snappers, weeping to himself as he places each of his perfect brushes on a conveyor belt alongside their splaying messes of expensive hair.

We old folks here laughed out loud.


Posted in Life As a Shared Adventure | 3 Comments


Have you heard of the Heartbleed bug that has threatened internet security? I read a couple of articles about it, trying to figure out what to do. One article said change your passwords immediately, others said don’t change your password if the site in question is still using the faulty software. So I’m grateful for these articles by and CNET — they gave me the information I needed. I’m now off to change some passwords, starting with Facebook!


Posted in Life As a Shared Adventure | 12 Comments

Taking Pictures

KB takes spectacular pictures:

Romping and Rolling in the Rockies

Romping & Rolling in the Rockies
Creative Commons license.

Romping & Rolling in the Rockies Creative Commons license.

Romping and Rolling in the Rockies
Creative Commons license.

To see the post and the pictures in better resolution, click on one of them. There are also two more pictures in the post.

I love KB’s photos, but these also tickled my funny bone. In a recent comment to Audra I mentioned a post I wrote in 2008, about one night/early morning I spend hours taking a picture of my teddy bear. The contrast between KB’s photos and mine is just too funny not to laugh.

That doesn’t mean my time was wasted. The post I wrote said

You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.
–Robin Williams

I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the physical plane will have resonances within our own innermost being and reality….
–Joseph Campbell in “The Power of Myth”

It’s a magical world, Hobbes, ol’ buddy…let’s go exploring!
Calvin to Hobbes

I hesitate to tell you how long I spent taking the above picture for last week’s post. I had the post written by a reasonable hour, and it could have been a nice conclusion to a productive day. All I needed was a simple illustration for the text.

Instead I took picture after picture, varying the lighting, pose and camera angle. From time to time I downloaded the pictures to my computer and noticed what resonated and what didn’t. When I first started getting involved, the “rational” part of my mind said, “This is crazy. The picture you have is plenty good enough. Just let it go and get a good night’s sleep.” And a soft inner voice replied, “Yes, what you say makes sense. It is crazy. I’m doing it anyway, and you can’t stop me.” Once I get in that situation I don’t fight myself. I open myself to the experience.

I ended up going to bed about 3 a.m.

Was that really the best use of my time? When babies lie in their crib experimenting with making sounds, is that a waste of their time? Or when they start exploring their hands and feet, being completely open to the miracle of movement, is that a waste of time? I think not. And I believe that feeling of fascination and discovery shouldn’t be reserved for children. I personally regard that state as sacred space, when one forgets about time and is completely immersed in the present moment. So what if I got to bed late and slept in the next morning? It was a small price to pay for feeding my soul. Sure it was crazy, and I agree with Robin Williams, we’re only given a little spark of madness. We mustn’t lose it.

What about you? Do you have a spark of madness that makes you feel more alive, that lets you slip into sacred space?

Rummuser wrote in a comment, “I call it being in the ‘flow’, and nothing else, as why reinvent the wheel?” I can understand why he asked that — I had written, “…when one forgets about time and is completely immersed in the present moment.” That’s the definition of flow, and I do that a lot on various projects. But here I was talking about something even more powerful, that sense of mystery and wonder, of deep resonance. Have you ever felt that? Was it when you were in the flow state, or listening to music, looking at art or nature, or…?


Posted in Life As a Shared Adventure | 7 Comments


Play is the highest form of research.
—Albert Einstein

Do you agree with Einstein at all? How important is play to your learning something new?


Posted in Life As a Shared Adventure | 5 Comments