Saturday, January 17, 2015

What is in Your Head? (Part 2)

These are Aesop’s eyes:
 This is Aesop’s brain:
Aesop’s eyes are connected to Aesop’s brain by two cords called “optic nerves.” This is a good set-up and it works pretty well for the most part, all things considered, except that at the place where the optic nerves connect to each eye, Aesop cannot see.

Don’t feel too bad for Aesop, though. At the place where each of your optic nerves connects to your eyes, you cannot see, either. And Abraham Lincoln could not see anything at those places on his eyes. And neither Leonardo da Vinci. Why, even Kanye West himself cannot see anything at that place at the back of each eye where his optic nerves connect.

Kanye West! (Please do not tell him I told you this.)

Those places on Aesop’s eyes and your eyes and even Kanye West’s eyes are called blind spots.
Now this sounds bad, but truth be told, Aesop’s blind spots aren’t normally much of a problem. They aren’t normally much of a problem because:

1.         Aesop’s eyes tend to scan the scene before him so he can take in everything;

2.         Aesop has two eyes, and his blind spots don’t coincide; and

3.         Aesop’s brain fills in whatever it thinks he ought to be seeing in his blind spots.

And it’s this third point that is the reason why I’m writing this blog post.

You see, sometimes Aesop’s brain gets it wrong.

Like if he is sitting on his couch and he is staring at his wall and his wall is empty except for one small hanging clock. And if he covers up one eye and if he moves his head around, then at some point, his small hanging clock will disappear.
(Click to embiggify. Shut your right eye. Look at the dot on the right. Move your head closer.)
Pop! Right out of existence!

Aesop’s small hanging lock will be in his blind spot, you see, and his brain will fill in “wall.”

His brain will be wrong.

Or look at this! If Aesop covers his right eye and looks at the dot on the right with his left, his brain will turn the broken line into an unbroken vertical line. It will do this when the clock is inside his blind spot.
(This probably won’t work on a computer screen, and it never works with broken horizontal lines, and broken diagonal lines take time to “grow” straight. I don’t know why.)

And now I make a series of little letters. They must be little. They must be letters.

And now I put the little letters in a vertical line. It must be vertical. It must be a line.

And now I leave a gap for Aesop’s blind spot.

A gap for Aesop’s brain to fill stuff in.     
1.       It might fill the gap with nothing. With a smudge and that is all. This is what my brain does when I try.

2.     Or it might fill the gap with squiggles. With creepy hieroglyphics. This is what my daughters’ brains do when they try.

3.       Or it might fill the gap with letters. With letters out of nowhere. This is how we’ll find my brother soon when Aesop has a go.

This is going to work.

This is going to work if Aesop believes it’s going to work.

If he believes his brain has information about Antony’s location and inserts it in his blind spot, it will work. Because Aesop knows more than he knows he knows.

I’ve just got to get him really stoned.

And hope he’s not too far sighted.

Aesop’s brain is gonna do what I tell it to do, damn it.

It will work.

This is going to work…

(to be continued…)


Part 3 preview:

“In any field, find the strangest thing and then explore it.” – John Archibald Wheeler

“God damn, Katy… This isn’t fucking working and it’s giving me a headache!” – Aesop 


  1. "Embiggify"? I thought only we Indians did that kind of potent modification to English. But then again you don't use English so I suppose that lets you off the hook.

    Mollusc eyes don't have blind spots, do you know? Unlike us mammals, squid eyes didn't turn inside out during evolution, so their nerve fibres attach to the retina from the back, instead of pushing out and doing a loop.

    Another thing the Creationists need to explain away, or ignore as the case may be.

    1. I never "got" evolution until I was in Tuscon at a tarantula conference (yeah, yeah) and heard a lecture about tarantulas on "sky islands."

      Basically, you had one type of tarantula there millions of years ago. Then the glaciers retreated and the land was too hot for the spiders, so they were trapped on top of the mountains.

      Now, millions of years later, these tarantulas are all different but confined to separate mountains.

      Minor mutations over millions of years.


  2. What is in Your Head? (Part 1)

    "Aesop knows more than he knows he knows."

    “It is the obvious which is so difficult to see most of the time. People say 'It's as plain as the nose on your face.' But how much of the nose on your face can you see, unless someone holds a mirror up to you?” - Isaac Asimov

    [can you see your nose?... close your left/right eye... ]

    Proprioception - It's your brain's map of your body, and it screws up on a regular basis.
    Your sense of proprioception is your brain's ability to sense where your limbs are. Nothing strange about that, right? This is how you can put a sandwich in your mouth while your eyes are focused on the computer.
    Your proprioception is like your underwear: it's pretty much the first thing to disappear when you're any kind of messed up. Basically, the cops doing the roadside test are trying to see if your brain knows where your fingers are in relation to your nose.

    "It's sometimes called subconscious plagiarism. It's what happens when your brain rips off someone else's ideas and doesn't tell you, knowing nobody will believe you when you get caught later." - Aesop

    Subconscious Behavior
    Okay, fine. It's not exactly precognition. But there is evidence that your brain makes predictions (oftentimes incredibly bad ones) about what's either happening or about to happen in the future. Once your brain has a good idea of what it thinks is about to go down, it acts on that prediction, and--here's the weird part--there's evidence that it acts before you've made a conscious choice to act, either by moving parts of your body, or just by messing with your perception.

    We deal with almost everything that happens to us by comparing ongoing events with past experiences, mostly in our subconscious. Our minds pay much more attention to comparisons with past experiences than they do with the events facing you at any given moment.

    1. Have you read about how you can believe that you've been hit in the hand with a hammer, even when you know it's a rubber hand?

      Put the rubber hand on a table. Put your hand under the table. Then get someone to stroke your hand and the rubber hand at the same time. You'll mentally connect with the rubber hand you're seeing. Hit it with a hammer and your brain will react as though your REAL hand was hit.

    2. The new study suggests that human memory has, in effect, a just-in-case file, keeping seemingly trivial sights, sounds and observations in cold storage for a time in case they become useful later on.

      How the Brain Stores Trivial Memories, Just in Case

    3. That's cool. I have read things about how we really do store almost everything. Accessing the memory is really the problem. As I get older, though, I begin to remember more than i ever realized I could. It's all in there somewhere.

      Now, where did I lay my keys?

  3. Oh sure Katy. Close my one eye and the clock I have no clue what time it is and I'm seeing spots in front of my eyes.

    1. In part 3, I might try and explain to you hot to get your clock back.

  4. But Aesop's brain looks like it's, uhm, taking a dump ...

    1. Don't you dare insult Aesop's cerebellum....

      ...unless you're willing to post pictures of yours and explain how yours looks better.

    2. My brain is in my blind spot ...

    3. I actually worry about mine quite often. I have seen pictures of the brains of 80-year olds and boxers and football players. I've put my poor brain through an awful lot, and I hope I can get a few more years out of it before I start hitting the wrong pedal on my car and insisting it's the car's fault.

  5. Katy. OK, I was good as gold with this until the clock/dot scenarios. After staring with one eye shut, the hour hand disappeared from the clock.

    Now, I can't make it come back using either, or both, eyes. Why is Aesop fucking with me?

    As for Tara-tulas, I once went in search of Peyote cactus as a college student armed with a turn-of-the-century (19th-to-20th turn) botany textbook. After ingesting the flower buttons of sever "similar to Peyote" cacti, I found myself quite nauseated, then awaking from a sleep. What awakened me was the tickle on my face of what I thought to be a mechanical spider moving in small, deliberate moves as it tested and searched what it must have thought to be an alien dropped from the sky onto its planet. The fury animal would lightly rub my face in spots, then touch the hands to various spots on its own body.

    It roamed my face as I lay somewhat drug paralyzed--testing my facial features and the air around us--and every few minutes it would rub two of its several hands together as if a scientist, excited over a new discovery.

    I was able to stay still and mute until he performed a full circle around the rim of my face and the moved from my chin more rapidly, and jammed several of the aforementioned hands up my nose to its elbows.

    This was also the first time my God visited me in person, appearing in the form of Dr. Timothy Leary, a now dead idol of mine.

    Please ask that the hand be added back to the clock, and Fuck Walmart!

    1. Oh, Mooner, Mooner, Mooner...

      The minute hand is right with the hour hand because it is obviously 4:20.

      I tore through all of the old psychedelic writers when i was about 16. All the usual suspects: Huxley and Watts and McKenna and Castaneda. and Robert Anton Wilson. I think the only Leary I have is called "Neuropolitique."

      Actually, now that i say that, I need to put all of my psychedelic readings to more use around here.

      I need to work on becoming a psychedelic guru of sorts.

  6. You know what I hear works well at forcibly obtaining information? Waterboarding. Now, I don't know what waterboarding is or how it works, so my suggestion is to splash him in the face with boiling water until he tells you exactly what you want to know.

    "Where the fuck does that clock go?"
    "I don't know!"
    "TELL ME!"

    1. I went water boarding in Padre a few years back. It was great, and it pretty much acted like a truth serum on me, once I was than zenned out. I can see why Cheney recommended it.

  7. FUN! Your post has fun optical games! In the next post can you include one of those magic eye posters from the 90's? I loved those. Or that spiral that looks like it's moving if you stare at the center? Yeah, sure, you can work in a metaphor or two about memory, but remember, your blog is about my fun.

    1. Next week, actually, we're going to predict who is at the door by seeing whose face appears on either side of a vase.

      I'm guessing it is going to be Jehovah's Witnesses, but I'm not going to bias the outcome by thinking about it too much.

  8. Katy, I have a blind spot in my right eye without doing the visual exercises. I awoke one fine morning three years ago with one eye aching (as if I'd slept with it open all night), and what I saw in the mirror confirmed there was indeed a problem... that right eye was bloodshot, blurry. Spent a day or two wondering why nothing was in focus, then finally went to see an optometrist, who sent me to a specialist, who sent me to have a brain scan done at Vanderbilt. They diagnosed it as ischemic optic neuropathy, ION, and THAT sent me to the internets for some research. Turns out folks who suffer this malady (basically an eye stroke) are highly likely to go completely blind in both eyes. Since I make my money as a photographer, that might present problems. Blind photographers tend to "top" their portraits a little... There's a reason Stevie Wonder takes lousy photos...

    Anyway, I focus with my left eye when I shoot, and for the most part it hasn't affected my work. For the most part.

    But they say this sort of thing happens during the night, usually, so whenever I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Hooey Gods my sight to keep.

    Funny how important that kind of thing can seem.

    1. That is a wild story. I wish your eyes as long a life as the rest of you has. The prospect of losing my eyesight is scary to me. We had someone come into the office where I work the other day who was deaf AND blind. I mean, he came in with someone else, obviously. I don't know whether he could play pinball.

      At least if they know about they can put you on blood thinners or something.

  9. Love the pinball reference!

    My older sister is nearly completely deaf, and I'm working on blindness. Told her we'd make a great pair in our old age at family reunions. She wouldn't hear what I was saying, and I wouldn't see her flipping me off.

    1. Oh, that's some dark humor there.

      There was a bad movie years back where Richard Pryor played a blind guy and Gene Wilder played a deaf guy. I think they fought crime together or something.

  10. You suck, Horribly, as a human being!!!

    Your blog sucks just as badly.

    As usual, I skimmed through your pages of frivolous facts and metaphors, one after another, endlessly, of a simple point that all of us had already gotten in the first few paragraphs, because I wasn't holding much hope that you would actually tell us anything material after pages and pages of these childish metaphors. And just as I had suspected, you didn't tell us anything material in your soup opera of finding your character's lousy brother.

    What a waste of time!! What is the point of your blog any more?! Is there any good or evil that you still care to distinguish? You never said a single word about the purpose of Katy looking for her brother. Most people would disown such a piece of human garbage from their family.

    But I guess you are not most people, and your family had never dealt with the human garbage in your ranks, did you?!!!

    1. I am sorry you were displeased.

      Your refund for this blog post is already in the mail.

  11. Anonymous fails to realize that it is about the writing not the story .That may be because he is not reading in his first language but most likely because he is unidimensional and lacks in intellectual depth .


    1. Her writing is childish-like. It's a shame that she is apparently still stuck at being a 15-year-old in her writing. For a while she had some breakthrough with her personal blog at some years ago, but since she started this one, it's been all down hill ever since. There is just no substance, no passion, no right-and-wrong, except this childish style of repeating one thing in fifteen different ways, with a few rarely used vocabulary thrown in every other paragraph, like a mediocre cook trying to show off with some rare ingredients that the dish never called for. As to my intellectual depth, well, whatever you like to think, dear. But believe me what I tell you that in being a human being, she sucks at it, horribly

    2. Hi, Glenn!

      I spend quite a bit of time trying to push my ideas into a form that is as childlike or sometimes as rhythmic as possible. It's how I like to write, so if that rubs Angry Anon the wrong way, he's not going to have much fun here.

      Plus I figure it's an online blog, where anyone can zoom off at the click of a button to look at cats or porn, so if I try and write about my life in thesis paper format, then... well, I would not read that.

      I don't know. I do the best I can. Clearly, I'm not aiming for Drudge Report or even Bloggess type numbers.

  12. As to your last statement , she has said that more than once. But this is the internet , so you could be Katy trying to tell her readers that circumstance has forced her to write in a way she doesn't care for .But then why write at all ? Who would care enough to encourage her to write while hating her .Anthony.


    1. My "intellectual depth"?! How about your punctuation? Or your ability to be coherent about whatever hell the point you were trying to make?

      If I would wager, I say you "Glenn" is yet another personality YOU have taken on in order to post pathetic comments on YOUR own blog pages, when you couldn't come up with another lousy post for the week, or when your ego could not be satisfied by the meager dozen-and-a-half comments you got on the lousy posts you did crap out every other week.

    2. Angry Anon, this is a personal blog with just a few readers. I'll never understand why you'd come charging in here as though it were a car you just purchased and discovered to be faulty.

      If you're going to continue to post a comment every day, you need to learn some fucking manners or else I'm going to banish you to the Eddie Hamster Memorial Woodshed from whence no one has ever returned.

      Your choice. You can always start your own blog where you post complaints about mine.

      But if you're going to come here, it's my rules. Fair enough?

  13. Manners? Really?

    YOU got manners? Ha, like lying and cheating and breaking every promise you ever made?

    You should be grateful that you got one person in this world who is not a kiss-ass about your mediocre blog, and who is actually telling you what everyone else was thinking about your pathetic blog. You know, those people who stopped by to take a look at your blog, but never came back nor cared to comment?

    Every clown on stage will get a few cheers, especially when the clown is a skinny lesbian woman and when the audience is made up by a dozen-and-half old, slow, clueless men with nothing better to do than to kiss up to an internet lesbian.

    Here is a tip that will do wonders to your writing: Why don't you do a middle-aged gay man's blog instead, and see how many comments you will get then. Or, how about you finish any of the dozen books and stage plays you had started to write since 15 years ago.

    What? Haven't felt like writing in the past few years, and all you still do is to read books while listening to metal? Then how about you read some books on human manners and morals? Because you sure have fucking none of those, you asshole!!!

    1. I am going to respond to this briefly and then stop approving any further comments from you. Approving your comments only enables your bad behavior.

      You seem to believe that your insults (including calling me asshole repeatedly and complaining about my "whore hole(?)) somehow prove that you care about me and that I should therefore be appreciative of your attention.

      I am not.

      Farewell, Angry Anon.

    2. You've been more than fair and patient with this troll, Katy. There are a slew of these anonymous bashers out there, and as far as I can tell their only purpose in life is to hammer away at what others create. A monkey with a handgun would present fewer threats...

      Realistically, if this individual had anything to offer the world other than hateful bullshit, he or she would be spelling it out on their own forum with legions of adoring acolytes eagerly awaiting the next missive. Instead, they fall back on harsh (groundless) criticism masked as constructive advice, as if they alone have the key to the universe.

      I've read your blog for a couple of years, in its current manifestation and the last one, and find your work exceptionally well written. I'd recommend your blog to anyone interested in an off-the-beaten-path change of pace from the usual snark, and for the record couldn't care less about your sexual orientation or how it applies to your work. I'm one of those people who's fascinated by your "mediocre" blog, and hope you shuffle this obnoxious asshole off forever.

      Like I said, you've been more than patient.

      If this were the Gong Show, we'd be tripping over ourselves to give that prick the hook.

      (glad you're back, by the way)

    3. Hey, squat! Thank you. I have been a little overwhelmed by all of the kind words and support over these past few days.

      For the time being, the only changes that will be visible to anybody are a) All pictures of me and my family are replaced with black squares or white squares with "Picture Removed" typed across them; and b) anonymous comments are no longer permitted.

      I'm going to be more proactive in nailing my problems to the wall.

  14. I'll second what Squat said. Over the weekend, I thought this site was a goner. I'm glad it's not, and I'm especially glad that it's not because of a hateful idiot that felt the need to follow you around like some unwanted, self-proclaimed savior of the Internet.

    Neither of us are slow, confused old men, and we don't give a shit if you're gay, straight, or anything in between. What you like and what's between your legs has absolutely nothing to do with our coming here. We like your writing. It's well done, it entertains us, and you're fun to interact with. This is one of our favorite blogs to visit, and that's coming from two writers, represented by a literary agent, who have published 6 positively reviewed novels. We know what we're talking about, more so than some Internet fucktard who's not even moderately proficient in grammar.

    For the record, we did away with anonymous comments years ago, and it's been a huge breath of fresh air. Anyone who really wants to talk to you will sign up with an account. We've found that only cowards post long-winded, hateful comments without attaching their names to it. Anyone who really believed what they were saying would actually have the courage to sign their names to it.

    -Bryan and Brandon

    1. Hey, thank you for this. I've been struggling the past few weeks with what to do with this page. It helps to see that it's appreciated by someone. I absolutely LOVE writing it and I hope I can continue!

  15. Katy,
    Glad you didn't close it down . Old and confused often follows from young and confused but to know is to know your own mind .


    1. I have a few years left to try and figure out how things work. I'm not sure I'm any closer than I was when I was 18. But it's fun to try and figure it out anyway...

  16. Okay, you've been silent far too long. Nothing worse than a cliffhanger without resolution.

    Inquiring minds want to know... you know?

    1. This weekend will (hopefully) mark the dramatic return of Fascist Dyke Motors.

      SPOILER: It will not be the conclusion of this story. It's been weeks since I've written, so I need to start small and work my way up to more ambitious material.

  17. Hey, if Harper Lee can go fifty years between novels, you're allowed to take your time. It's like someone banging on the door when you're trying to crap... it doesn't help.

    Long as you're making an effort to fulfill our fix, we're all good!

    1. No, well, posting this stuff is an addiction, so it is unlikely that I'm just going to stop cold turkey anytime soon.


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