Late nights and Soft Flowers

daisies2

Late nights and coffee.

I sat in the car, riding along some back road highway through some desolate mountain pass. Only the sound of the engine and the tires against the ancient pavement. Only darkness behind and darkness ahead, bordered by my headlights.

It was a little car, an old sedan, but reliable. Red. Faded red though. I loved my car and I’m pretty sure my car loved me back.

I hadn’t seen a road sign in a while. I thought that was strange but I pushed on. Round corners and bends. My phone had died a while back, so I was just guessing which way to go. I had a pretty good sense of direction, I didn’t get lost easily, but this darkness was like a maze.

The darkness was like a maze. I kept driving. I noticed moss on the road. Moss and dirt. Plants growing through cracks in the asphalt. More and more. Soon, I could barely see the road. Not more than 30 seconds later I was rumbling along, not able to see the road any longer.

No road signs.

No road.

No nothing.

The headlights flickered. The engine coughed. It coughed again and died.

My beautiful little car rolled to a stop. My headlights were still on, shining through the black, cutting out swaths of safety. Then they, too, flickered and died. I sat alone, alone in the dark. Alone in the black.

My eyes adjusted to the dark while I peered out of the car.

I saw flowers. Flowers all around the car. I seemed to be in a clearing, about 20 feet around. Roses, white as snow. White roses all around the car.

I saw movement ahead of me. The figure walked towards the front of the car. He walked until he was a few feet in front of the car. He bent down and picked a rose. He straightened up, smelling the rose. I couldn’t tell what he looked like. I couldn’t see his face but I knew he was staring past me.

Not past my physical body. He was looking past me. Past my being. He was staring into my soul. He seemed to be judging me. Watching me. I felt my heart pull around in my chest. I felt my stomach roll around in my body.

I watched this man and I knew fear. I knew fear. I locked up, I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t move.

The figure shook its head. It shook its head and turned around.

It dropped the rose.

Tears rolled down my cheeks. I took deep breaths. Breaths so deep you’d think I had just been drowning. Figures started crawling out of the darkness. Unlike the man, they walked on hands and feet, low to the ground.

All around they approached the car. They didn’t stop a few feet away. They pressed their bodies against the windows. Naked, grey skin, they looked like ash. They were slow. Deliberate. They knew they had me. They didn’t need to put any effort into it.

They kept pressing into the glass. They kept pressing and pressing. The driver’s side window shattered, and a thousand hands reached in. Gray, dead hands. Filthy, reaching for me. They grabbed me and pulled me out of the car. They all grabbed anything they could reach, and I fell onto the flowers.

They started walking into the darkness. They started dragging me away from the car. I didn’t struggle. I didn’t scream. I let them take me. I let them drag me. Drag me into the late night, and the soft flowers.

The end

Rain Racing

Rain Racing

Today I wanted to talk about part of one of my favorite books. It’s called The Art of Racing in the Rain.

It’s really a great book. It’s about this guy, Denny, and he’s this amazing racecar driver. He has a dog, a wife, and a daughter. The story really unfolds when the wife dies and the wives’ parents try to take custody of the kid. The thing about this book that makes it so extraordinary is that it’s told through the eyes of the dog, Enzo.

This is especially interesting because the author did such a good job writing Enzo’s emotions and thought processes. It really feels like you’re just reading something a dog wrote. It’s pretty incredible. The way Enzo thinks about what humans do and act is very revealing and humbling.

When Enzo talks about eating food, he marvels at the fact that humans take time to enjoy their food. That they take time to chew it into a paste, taking in the flavors. He struggles throughout the book to eat his own food like humans do because he longs with all his heart to be human.

As the book progresses, this quote appears multiple times: That which you manifest is before you.

Ever since I read the book for the first time, in 6th grade, I’ve really lived by that quote. It’s so broad it covers so many different situations, but has yet to fail in encouraging me countless times.

I’ll break it down a little.

That which you manifest means what you create.

This could be multiple things. If you take it literally, it means what you make. But of course, we’re going to go a little deeper than that. That which you manifest, that which you create, is before you. Is before you. That which you create, lies before you. Sure, that could mean the birdhouse you made is sitting on the table in front of you, but there’s another way of looking at it.

Let’s look at it in the context of relationships.

The relationship that you create is before you. Before you as in in your future. Manifest in this sense means that you have the possibility, or the opportunity to create something. If you meet a pretty girl in a bar, the possible relationship you want to create is right in front of you.

The hard part is that now you have to take action. Sure, the opportunity is there, but a door can be open all day and you still have to work to go through it. The thing you want to do, to make, to achieve, to accomplish, is right there in front of you, you just have to go out and get it.

So go now, go get that job, go get that girl. The world is yours to take. The journey you manifest is before you. You can do anything in this world you want to, but you have to get up to get it.

That which you manifest is before you.

No Man’s Sky

no man's sky

photo courtesy of

https://i.guim.co.uk/img/static/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2015/7/9/1436448264593/cbf63e0c-dec4-41d1-9ef0-7d3002fc5230-2060×1166.jpeg?w=1125&q=55&auto=format&usm=12&fit=max&s=dbfdb8ee84706005a51b9f6f35d31eda

I’ve been hearing a lot about a video game called No Man’s Sky. I thought I’d try to get in on it, so I did some research, and you know how extensive my research can be.

I came to find out that this game is actually extremely incredible and is a whole new caliber of gaming!

First, I need to get you guys through the vocabulary I learned and will be using in this article.

The first phrase is Sandbox Game. This word in the gaming world almost never means an actual box full of sand. It’s the name of a category of games that don’t really have a clear main goal, or if they do, there’s multiple ways to achieve that goal, and players can choose whether or not to pursue that goal.

The second phrase is Procedural Generation.

This is what No Man’s Sky is completely built on. Procedural Generation is a system that basically enables the game to make itself. For example, the developers create 10 mouths, noses, and eyes, and a computer uses procedural generation to combine the different mouths, noses, and eyes to create something new, that the developer didn’t necessarily make themselves.

So now I’ll talk about the actual game.

The Game is literally the entire universe.

Literally.

The space is accurate. There is a massive formula that the developers built to create over 18 quintillion planets. The game is so vast the developers sent robots out into the game to look for bugs or glitches in the game.

The developers didn’t stop there. They used procedural generation to create the spaceships, wildlife, and weaponry in the game. The result is something no one has ever seen before. An endless space game, where you can actually discover things and go places that no one has ever been before.

In this game we can all live out the childhood dream of becoming an astronaut. It’s incredible.

The team also put intelligent alien life into the game. Now you can meet and form alliances with multiple races of Aliens. Alien races also have different factions in them, like pirates or scientists. Befriending them can award you with new technology, or aid in a fight.

On the other side of the coin, one can also cause the race to dislike you. They are less likely to help you, and more likely to attack.

There technically is multiplayer in this game, but it’s not what you’d think in a traditional game. It’s like having the small percent of earth’s population that will actually be playing the game spread out across the entire universe.

The chances of running into anybody at all are less than 1%. Some are disappointed by this, but in my opinion, it increases the wonder and magic of the game. Looking up at the sky, each star an actual place in the game, knowing there are thousands of people just like you, exploring the universe, but not able to see any of them.

All in it together, yet all alone.

No Man’s Sky

Plastic Surgery: Our Interest Group

surgery

 

This blog will be one of my digression blogs. I.e. I’m digressing from my usual general topic of the birthing center and related subjects.

This blog is about plastic surgery. You’ll see why if you keep reading.

I’ve had a number of friends recently become interested in plastic surgery. It’s been for different reasons.

One wanted cosmetic surgery done, so she was looking up information on body lifts, breast surgery, breast augmentation, fat reduction, facial balance, and stuff like that.

The topic of conversation for weeks was variations on the theme: plastic surgery before and after, plastic surgery prices, plastic surgery gone wrong (the pictures! Omg!), plastic surgery facts, plastic surgery statistics, celebrity plastic surgery, etc, etc. Always she came with plastic surgery photos. Always I was impressed.

My other friend was looking into plastic surgery from the standpoint of reconstruction. The topic for weeks over lunches with her was breast reduction, cleft lips and palates, breast reconstruction, hand surgery, scar revision, skin cancer removal, tissue expansion, regenerative medicine, and the like.

She needed reconstructive surgery done, but in the process of researching that, got drawn into the whole world of plastic surgery and ended up looking into all of it. I mean, reconstructive plastic surgery. She had no interest in cosmetic plastic surgery.

As I listened to these friends, I got interested in it myself and started to explore it.

I Googled plastic surgeons Orlando and plastic surgeons near me and found Newman Plastic Surgery. When I Googled best plastic surgeons, the same group came up, so I knew I had found the right people.

I visited their website and got all kinds of great information and became more and more interested in the whole field. I had more conversations with the two friends I mentioned above and the three of us decided to start an interest group on the subject.

We started with very informal get-togethers—just the three of us—to talk about the various aspects of plastic surgery and to share the information we had gathered. We started telling other people about our interest group and they wanted to join us. So pretty soon there were ten of us meeting regularly.

That group kind of mushroomed from that point. Now we have weekly gatherings to discuss plastic surgery and the ins and outs of it, and there are 75-100 of us that get together.

I’m posting about that here to invite you to join us, too. Obviously there is more interest in the subject than I originally thought, so I’m just getting the word out.

You’re welcome to join us!