It's apparently been a while since I last used this thing. I've been paring down my thoughts to fit the briefer Facebook and even Twitter formats. But, you know, no time like the present to resurrect this thing. Especially since People magazine just named Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as the Sexiest Man Alive.

Not a bad choice. Certainly there have been worse in the history of People magazine, some of which were awful only in hindsight, while others were dreadful right out of the gate. As far as these things go, The Rock is one of their better picks, right up there with Hugh Jackman, George Clooney, and Chris Hemsworth, as far as I'm concerned.

But is he my pick? Well... no. He does have a few things in common with my pick, though, being an egregiously tall, well-built professional wrestler.

Without further ado, I give you my Sexiest Man Alive for 2016: the awesomely talented Donovan Dijak.

You're welcome.
Really intrigued by “Childhood's End,” but I'm rapidly losing patience with media that can't pass the Bechdel test, so I think I'm going to wash out after the first installment. It's not like I'm asking for the show to clear a high bar. “Sons of Anarchy” - a show featuring one of the most macho subcultures in North America – somehow managed to pass the Bechdel test every week.

It's not even necessary for shows to have a female POV character, or for female characters to be something other than auxiliary to a male character (the wife, the girlfriend, the mother, the secretary), although that'd be nice for a change. Just have two named female characters who talk to each other about something other than a man. If you're telling interesting stories, it shouldn't be too hard.

I don't think I'm asking for too much. Which is why TV shows and movies are going to have to step it up in 2016 if they want me to watch (or keep watching).
Almost broke my arm last night falling up a flight of stairs. I wasn't drunk, just clumsy. I haven't had an epic klutz-out like that in a while. Perhaps not since the time I broke my finger in a freak snow-shovelling accident.

My arm shot out as a I fell forward. I think it was simultaneous, or close enough to be unable to tell which came first. What I do know is that my forearm slammed against the end of the wall as my body's momentum carried me forward. I collapsed at the top of the stairs cradling my arm and doing that laugh/crying thing you do when you hit your funny bone. It took a few minutes for me to get up. That's when I noticed the abrasion.

At least it's not broken, although it's sore as hell today. And I bet once I take the bandage off, I'm going to see a lovely bruise.

(And the rash caused by my growing allergy to bandage adhesive, but that is a story for another time.)
st_emma: (Default)
( Sep. 9th, 2015 05:59 pm)
Today's float was more somatic, still. I kept hallucinating touch – someone touching my foot or my hand. It wasn't the tank, since I did an impressive job of centering myself and staying centered, for the most part.

I processed a lot of emotions around my mom's illness and death. There was some catharsis, although mercifully I didn't start crying.

Time did not fold in on itself today. If anything, it expanded. I felt like I was in there for about three hours, instead of 90 minutes.

I had the usual swirling colours, and the universe expanding around and through me. And I had a few other interesting experiences as well. I had a strong impression of a tree, of being a tree, of feeling my bark and seeing my bark and leaves from the inside out.

And I was both in an egg, and the egg itself. The capsule dissolved into a radiant shell of white, lit from within, and I could hear my heart beat and see it reflected in the pulse of the egg. Then I became the shell itself, as well as the contents, as my body thrummed in response to the beat of my heart.

So, yeah. Trippy.

I drank some tea after, and did some colouring on one of the sheets they provide.

On my way home, Boston drivers did their level best to harsh my mellow by acting like complete ninnyhammers. But nothing fazed me. That's what I love best about floating – it temporarily renders me calm and unfazeable.

Well, that and it's trippy.
st_emma: (Default)
( Jul. 26th, 2015 11:58 am)
After both float sessions, I've noticed a dramatic increase in the vividness, intricacy, and strangeness of my dreams. I am able to remember them in much greater detail.

Even the ones I don't remember don't disappear entirely. Several days after my first float, I was occasionally struck by little fragments of memory, flashes of events that I can't remember whether I witnessed personally, saw in a movie, or dreamed. There was never enough of the memory fragment to enable me to determine where it came from, merely a haunting wisp of something I'd forgotten that was right on the tip of my ability to remember.

It was a little disorienting when it started happening. It felt almost like an odd reality slip, or recalling memories that were never mine in the first place. After several days of this happening, I realized where it was coming from. They weren't memories; I was being haunted by the ghosts of forgotten dreams.

Of all the things I expected to get from floating, that one never even occurred to me.
st_emma: (Default)
( Jul. 25th, 2015 05:27 pm)
Very different from the first. 90 minutes this time. I was much more successful at centering myself in the tank, floating and then holding that position. It was easier for me to relax. Not so much of a struggle.

Weird time distortion. I had been floating for about 40 minutes, it felt like, when the music began playing, signalling the end of my time. I did not think that could possibly be right. It was right.

This was a much more somatic experience. I could feel my pulse emanating in my body. My hallucination today was the universe. All of it. Open and expanding in front of me. An infinity of stars. It was a part of me and apart from me. Surrounding me. Buoying me up. Nurturing me.

It was also a much-needed stripping away of stress and heartache.

The attendant says that the reason their beginner's package is three floats is because the first three can be completely different. I wonder what my next one will be like.
st_emma: (Default)
( Jul. 22nd, 2015 12:02 am)
As we are heading into what the Queen would call an annus horribilus, I am slowly weaving together a safety net.

If I can make it through this year without snapping, it'll be a fucking miracle.
Well. That seems to be two Kindles I've killed in a calendar year.

(This is why I don't get more e-books. Harder for my wonky electromagnetic field to destroy book-books.)
I guess things have gotten a bit boring in Baptist-land because they seem to have taken out the stick of homophobia and are using it to once more whap at the hornet's nest of public sentiment.

"What's right is not always popular
We support biblical marriage."

First of all, which biblical marriage model would that be? The "one man/many wives" model? There are a few of those. How about "one man/several wives/several more concubines"? That was pretty popular, too. Or "one man/virgin bride", with any non-virgin brides being put to death? One man and his brother's widow? One man and his sister? It may be "Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve", but who did Cain and Abel marry, exactly?

Second of all, we're in Massachusetts. Whinging about same-sex marriage is so last decade.
st_emma: (Default)
( Jul. 7th, 2015 03:19 pm)
First Float – 60 min @ Float

A slightly cool shower is best, so the tank feels slightly warm when you enter. There is no need to worry about knowing when your time is up, because music plays. Apparently if you fall asleep, the gentle music gives way to Coldplay.

I chose 60 minutes for my first float because I wasn't sure I was up for 90. In retrospect, this was a mistake. I was just starting to really get the hang of it when my time was up. Next time just do 90s or longer. And yes, there will be a next time.

The tank did not feel claustrophobic at all. Once the door was closed and I settled myself in the middle of the tank, it felt like an infinity of space opened up inside the tank. This seemed to expand even more as I settled in and started to really relax.

There is a real resistance to relaxing, at least in my body. I switched between chanting sa ta na ma and the names of deity until I could get my brain into chill-out mode. That's when the visual hallucinations started. Nothing too insane, just swirling purple galaxies – a vibrant, almost unnatural colour. Interesting and beautiful and weirdly soothing.

The consciousness does not want to leave the body. I was very frequently aware that I was a body, floating in a tank, supported by water. But even then, there was a calm, peaceful, almost uterine feeling about it. Like floating in the womb of the cosmic mother.

There were a couple of moments where the borders of my body seriously dissolved and I could reach beyond the body for something else. My yoga experience was helpful with that, I think, because I did manage to achieve a kind of consciousness escape velocity, if only for a very brief moment of time.

When the music began to play, I left the chamber, showered, and padded down the hall to the chill-out lounge. They have some books on floating. About how hard it is to leave the body behind, cross the threshold and leap into pure consciousness. But even if I can't do that, the relaxation factor alone is enough. The last week of tension, fear and anxiety dissolved in a tub full of salt water.

I was so dreamy and calm when I left the facility. I am so dreamy and calm writing this down nearly an hour later. Colours are more colourful, all my senses are more vivid. The wind was pushing the clouds around in the sky, and the leaves were swaying, and everything was very sensual.

I want to do this again. For longer, next time. I want to see where this journey takes me.

Next day notes: The quality of sleep was improved, I think, because I only got about four hours of it and felt moderately refreshed. What's more interesting is that while I was asleep, all of the angles of a vexing situation unfolded for me, enabling me to write them down in neat bullet-points for analysis. Instead of, you know, flailing around the edges of being able to identify them. That's different.
st_emma: (Default)
( Jun. 19th, 2015 01:49 pm)
I haven't said anything about the murders in Charleston because I don't even have the words to express how I feel. Shock. Sadness. Words are barely adequate. My heart goes out to all those who lost someone, and all those who feel less safe in their daily lives, as a result of this act of racist terrorism.

I'm more eloquent when it comes to how I feel about some of the commentary I've seen in the wake of these murders, so I will say this: it seems that some white people are so used to glossing over racism that even when the racist killer tells them, in his own racist words, why he murdered people, a distressing number of folks reflexively, deliberately, defiantly refuse to acknowledge the racist truth.

The (mostly) white people who claim they can't possibly understand Dylann Roof's motivations – when he said, in so many words, that this was a racist hate crime - need to take a long, hard look at the racism that is the background radiation of American culture, and how that plays out in their own lives. Because until white people step up and start holding each other accountable for our racist bullshit, the problem is not going to go away, and these sorts of hate crimes are just going to keep happening.

I suggest that the state of South Carolina might want to start by taking down the Confederate flag.
st_emma: (Default)
( Jan. 27th, 2015 02:45 pm)
Remember that year we got so much snow that we ran out of room in our yard to put it, and had to shovel it into the yard and driveway of the foreclosed house next door? Good times. Good times.

Well, this storm is like that, except we got all the snow in five hours or so (and it's still falling), and the house next door is occupied (and they have nowhere to put theirs, either).

I think we are mostly giving up on excavating [personal profile] st_darwin's car. We have mine dug out from beneath the snowdrift that was threatening to bury it until the thaw.
st_emma: (Default)
( Oct. 8th, 2014 11:07 pm)
First, there was the aggressive lawsuits against anyone else who claimed to be doing anything “for the cure,” because apparently the Susan G. Komen Foundation felt that only they were doing valuable work “for the cure.”

Then there was their abject failure to adequately vet partners for things that might, you know, be strongly correlated with breast cancer.

Then there was the foolish and counterproductive split with Planned Parenthood, orchestrated by the antichoice Karen Handel, then the vice president for public policy (and later a Sarah Palin-endorsed candidate for Georgia governor). Because apparently pissing off a handful of people who don't care about women's health anyway was more of a priority to Komen than funding people who actually provide health care to women.

Then it was revealed that Nancy Brinker was pulling in quite the plush salary for someone heading up a nonprofit ostensibly devoted to health care research. She took a pay cut (and a demotion) after the news broke, but her current salary is still quite extravagant.

Now there's this epic new low in pinkwashing: pink fracking drill bits. Fracking is not a euphemism there. Seriously. It's like the Komen Foundation has embraced its own irrelevance and descended into parodying itself. Their denial of the relationship between fracking chemicals and cancer is laughable.

Why does anyone bother with Komen anymore? If you want to donate money to a breast cancer charity this month, try the Susan Love Research Foundation.
What do Alex Edler, Kate and Pippa Middleton, a copy of Ana Brett and Ravi Singh's “A Journey Through the Chakras,” Chernobyl, and a bunch of shipwrecked Norwegian salmon fishermen have in common?

My dreams.
Usually I have vivid, weird, extremely surreal and usually lucid dreams. Last night, though, I was forced to vigorously defend the use of the Oxford comma, with fisticuffs.

This is what passes for a mundane dream in my world.
st_emma: (Default)
( Sep. 1st, 2014 02:51 am)
Earlier this week, I was shopping at Whole Foods when the in-store music system began to play John Mellencamp's “Jack and Diane.” This is important because I don't want anyone thinking I'm the kind of person who runs around with “Jack and Diane” playing in her head all the time. Prior to hearing it, I had not given it the slightest thought in something approaching a decade.

Anyway, last night in my dream, “Jack and Diane” made an encore appearance. I'm not even sure of the context anymore, but I was listening to the song. And just after Mellencamp sang “Changes come around real soon, make us women and men,” I hear another voice, singing “Ee oo,” slightly out of time with the rest of the music. And even in the dream, I thought “That's weird. I've heard this song dozens of times, and that is definitely not part of the vocal track.”

The song continues and there it is again, this time interrupting Mellencamp. “Ee oo!” It's so out of place it jars me out of the dream. I open my eyes and there's a little black cat standing beside me on the pillow, staring down into my face.

“Eee oo!” she says. Which apparently means “Wake up and pet me now, human, for I am too lazy to walk downstairs and bug daddy even though he's got nothing better to do than play computer games.”

And that's how I came to spend the first forty minutes of my waking Sunday snuggling with a kitty.
I understand that there are a lot of nuances about gun ownership, gun control and the Second Amendment that I – being raised in Canada – will never fully understand, no matter how Americanized I may consider myself. That said, I don't think we need to get into the nuances of an argument for me to state bluntly that anyone who hands an Uzi to a nine-year-old is perhaps not qualified to be handling said firearm in the first place.

No matter how you feel about the importance of children learning proper firearms handling (and if they live in a house with firearms, it is essential that kids get some firearm safety training), just on the basic level of physics most little kids lack the upper body strength to control the recoil that is inevitable with a weapon like this. I've never fired a gun and I know this. There is absolutely no reason for responsible gun owners and/or qualified firearms instructors to delude themselves otherwise. Anyone who puts an automatic weapon into the hands of a child is pretty much asking for disaster. And it isn't even like this is the first time this sort of thing has happened in recent memory.

I feel so bad for this poor little girl. I can't imagine what it must be like, knowing that you killed someone because not only were the adults around you not smart enough to put brakes on your behaviour when you didn't know any better, they were actually handing you a weapon and encouraging you to go faster than you were capable of handling.

That poor kid.
You can't spell "I HATE IT" without HIIT.
Fact: John Barrowman has chemistry with pretty much everyone (and everything) he's ever been in a scene with. Male, female, space alien, inanimate object. However or whatever it is, no matter how mundane or sexually unappealing, once you put it in a scene with Barrowman, heretofore undiscovered resevoirs of sex appeal bubble to the surface. The man is a god of sexual chemistry. If you put him in a room with an attractive person (like David Tennant), it's incendiary, but his presence manages to make even Billie Piper and Burn Gorman seem sexually compelling. That is a legit superpower.

Fact: After watching last night's final-season premiere of True Blood, it has become painfully obvious that Anna Paquin has chemistry with absolutely no one she's in a scene with. How else do you explain the fact that Stephen Moyer, Joe Manganiello, Rob Kazinsky, and Alexander Skarsgard - otherwise perfectly attractive gentlemen - all suddenly become drab and unappealing once their characters fall under Sookie Stackhouse's sway? Granted, the appeal of Moyer and Kazinksy is debatable in some circles, but Manganiello's abs alone are capable of causing women's underwear to spontaneously combust, and Skarsgard can make sitting on a toilet look sexy. Taking men that epically hot and rendering them lukewarm at best is also a legit superpower. Albeit not one that's exactly being used for good.

Hypothesis: Anna Paquin is the anti-John Barrowman.

I wish I was a casting director, just so I could put the two of them in a love scene, just to see what would happen.
So yesterday, I realized that I have a really bad response to this new orange-scented hand sanitizer that we bought recently. Something about the faux-orange and the alcohol gives me a headache and makes me want to vomit, simultaneously. It is truly the most ghastly scent, and [personal profile] st_darwin doesn't notice anything amiss. He is, however, willing to remove it from the house.

(And seriously, it's bad. I can smell when he uses it from across the room.)

And then my sandwich for dinner tonight came with pickles which I did not order. I don't like pickles, and even if I did, I wouldn't want them finely diced the way these were (which made it ultra-hard to remove them.) But the smell of the pickles. Egad. I had to sprint to the bathroom, I was so scared I was going to chunder on the spot.

I have always been a bit sensitive to smells, but this is ridiculous. If I didn't know better, I'd suspect I was pregnant.