When first considering acupuncture, I vowed not to look.
It's a habit: I never glance down when donating blood, and while I can stitch an open wound closed, I'd prefer never to do it again.
Piercing makes me queasy. Talking about piercing makes me queasy. Needles. Punctures. Ugh.
But of course, some five or six visits into acupuncture treatment for a long-standing shoulder injury, I really really really want to look.
The Chinese doctor who punctures me is a bright woman with a PhD, whose accent moves the English words just a bit too fast and loose for me to follow her the first time she explains. Except of course, when she tells me, "Sorry! You not gonna like this."
Right she is.
Having attached alligator clips with color-coded wires between a small device and -- I must assume -- the needles inserted into my arm, she begins running a mild electrical current. She asks if I can bear some more.
Taking deep breaths, focusing on relaxing the muscles that want to jump up and run, I soothe myself by contemplating electrical shockings of my past...These pulses sting, sure, but, it's not as bad as the shock from an electric fence or that faulty plug in a socket or the time I zapped myself across the kitchen trying to clean the fan over the stove.
Still, the cycle continues for a long while, at precisely my sorest spots. There's a scent of burning herbs, rubbing alcohol, and the faint, regular tzeet, tzeet, tzeet of the machine at my elbow.
Curiosity, meet cat. Cat -- curiosity.
I lift my head from the pillow and take a long look.
A line of four or five thousand slim needles lead a meandering course from my shoulder to the base of my fingers.
Second look: there are maybe 18 needles, set in pairs along the same pathway that is marked in red in the medical poster on the wall above me. I didn't feel the needles go in, and only sense them now when the electrical pulse squeezes the muscles along the way. Maybe muscles. Maybe nerves. Maybe chi. Chakras might be implicated. I don't know. And I am okay with this ignorance.
I'm rarely okay with ignorance. Beyond reason to me is the comfort of research, data, trivial facts, theories, original sources.
But for the little I know about acupuncture, let me counter with a separate and equal lack of understanding of the chemistry of aspirin or the architecture of my own ulna.
What I do know: in a week or two weeks, something will change. I'll be able to stretch this arm without this creeping heat of irritated nerves or tendons or chi or whatever it is that has been sending a jangling bolt of sensation -- radiating from this shoulder. I'll rotate my hands and stretch my wrists without wincing. I'll put fingers on the keyboard and type about it, not thinking about what hurts or how much.
A slight ebb in the big tide of words around here. There are more than 2300 images currently on the desktop. Might as well let them play.
"Dagnabbit! If I haven't told them once, I told them a hunnerd times and STILL they manage to make it wrong. Buncha jerks! Not like it's too much to ask, a simple request, but no...."
First correct answer below earns a fabulous* prize.
*Fabulous -- as always -- being a relative term.
Ah, 5200. Marine adhesive most divine!
To name you a polyeurethene sealant and adhesive does so little justice to your magical powers. Not only do you form a strong and flexible bond resistant to salt water, O sticky goo, you perform miracles.
Yea, I say unto you, miracles! How else does a microscopic dab of 5200 stretch to a nautical mile of white trace? And the way your purity of color besmirches precisely those items least likely to require a marvelous marine sealant? It's unholy how you find dark blue clothing and couch-loving pets.
And verily I say undo you: a pinhead's worth of 5200 will track on the bottom of a sneaker for -- and I promise I can count them still -- eighteen individual steps. Growing fainter, sure, but still visible across concrete and decking and welcome mat and hardwood planks, round as tiny cannon scars and quite indelible.
It is written that 5200 cures fully in two days into a watertight, flexible, and lasting seal, but the thaumaturgy of you, O my 5200, defies this sacred Instruction for Use.
As it is spoken, so it shall NOT be: loaf-like and fishy, 5200 keeps going and going and going, smudging chalkily for weeks.
O 5200! Spread thick -- and devil take the hindmost, O most holy 5200! I implore you, look over our Frankenscot. Bless every single bit of hardware and each thread of every bolt with gobs of your non-Newtonian moisture barrier. Keep us from corrosion, leakage, failure, aboard this, our Everglades Challenge boat project without end.
Shall we finish with a hymn?
Thank you, The Red Elvises, for this music video!
Does the color blue taste like dirty laundry? Like SweetTarts? Like beef jerky? Like mud?
Synesthesia is a brain condition that creates just this sort of sensory crossover. Some synthesthetes “smell” colors or “taste” words. For these people, sounds can be cold or damp or spiked, and scents may have distinct textures.
It's a condition that runs in families, and might affect as many as one in every two dozen people. The crossover is not universal (not everyone tastes green as mint, but there is some overlap from person to person...) Oh -- and the condition sometimes visits the brain with help from traumatic brain injury, seizure disorder, psychedelic drugs.
Vladimir Nabokov, famously, had one of the most common forms of this condition called grapheme-synthesthesia or “color reading.” Both he and his wife Vera associated colors with various letters. In his memoir, Speak Memory, he writes that the “V” of his own name is “quartz pink” and the number 5 is red. Regardless the typographical convention, the Arabic numeral 5 was red to him.
What's in your junk drawer? Broccoli bands and popsicle sticks and take-out menus? Yup, we got em. Plus a boat-load of old stainless and aluminum fittings. Blocks and fair-leads, rivets, pad-eyes, hooks and cheeks, plus short sections of spectra line and salvaged through-fittings. It's the natural detritus of decade following decade of boat modifications combined with a basic refusal to throw stuff out.
And it comes in handy from time to time.
Frankenscot, our planned monohull sailboat entry into the 2014 Everglades Challenge race, continues to take shape. The addition of some bulkheads, spacers, and holders for the racks has kept Twobeers off the streets. And sporting a Tyvek jumpsuit -- be still my heart!
Thanks to a surprisingly spirited thread discussion of the Frankenscot, on the ever-lively sailing website SailingAnarchy.com, we have no shortage of fresh opinions on the project from both inside and outside of the WaterTribe.
After having removed the seats from the former Flying Scot -- thereby making the boat resemble a bathtub all the more -- it seemed prudent to beef up support for the deck. If there are any non-sailors still here, bless your heart! -- imagine a tupperware dish: a rigid lip gives the lightweight plastic bowls a lot more strength. Same concept with boats.
Click to enlarge photos below.
Thanks to Chris and Monica Morgan for delivering a handful of balsa for the bulkheads. They know their fiberglass.
With both racks in place, the Frankenscot has a 10-foot, 11-inch wingspan. Since 8 feet is the maximum width for highway driving -- of course the Frankenscot's wings are detachable. A key engineering challenge is to be sure that they detach only on command.
The aluminum tubing of the rack passes through the deck and fits snuggly into fiberglass sleeves, which are anchored to the hull with yet more fiberglass strips.
In addition, the racks attach to the deck on small risers to give them the lift they need.
With the fiberglass resin kicking with a faint whiff of cyanide -- ah, fiberglass! -- today's work is done. Next up, the application of hardware.
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