Meanderings of Z.

Location: United States

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Ocean

I recently returned from my first cruise. I found myself spending a lot of time on my cabin balcony or in locations of the ship that afforded me a nice view of the ocean. I seemed addicted to the emptiness that the ocean view provided for me. Looking out in all directions and seeing absolutely nothing was amazing. As someone who lives in a community of houses and has a horrendous commute each day to work, seeing absolutely nothing is a rare thing.

However, it really didn't take long for me to realize that I wasn't actually looking out into emptiness ... although that is what I was seeing. My thoughts started to turn more into the activity that was living below the surface. How many species of animals and plant life were down there? How deep was the deepest creature able to survive? What kinds of cures for disease were below the ship that have yet to be discovered?

I guess this really brought to the forefront the stories you hear regarding the amount of money and resources we have spent surveying space versus our own oceans. The oceans truly are the final frontier until some other scientific breakthrough can take us beyond our solar system more efficiently. You would think that if we can make a case for exploring space and the universe, that it would be easier to make a case for exploring the oceans. Perhaps the scientific hurdles to concur the oceans are to vast for us to solve at this time.

Monday, January 16, 2006


Chaos Posted by Picasa

Reflected Vision

Reflected Vision Posted by Picasa

This picture is a reflection off of the water since it was so still. I then rotated the image 180 degrees so it would be upright. If you look closely at the larger version you can tell that the "canvas" is water.

Things that fly...

I have always been fascinated by things that fly. Of course, that usually meant staring in awe at really large aircraft that should fall out of the sky due to their sheer weight, but animals are equally amazing, if not even more so. Creation or Evolution aside, the development of flight without the knowledge of engineering is amazing.

One day at the park I think I really noticed with just how much ease birds seem to fly. In this case it was watching ducks land and take off from the water. What an amazing sight.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Songs that change the world

"Change the world" may be an overstatement, but it is certainly true that every once and a while a song comes out that moves you in some particular way. It could remind you of a first date, a last date, or even a mood you where in. It could inspire artistry, raise your temper, or cool you down. Whatever the effect, it usually hits the first time you hear it.

Over the course of my life, I have had this happen a few times. I would be curious if anyone else has every been hit so hard that they had the buy the song as soon as possible. For me, the top 10 (in no particular order) are probably:

  1. Avalon - Roxy Music
  2. Old and Wise - Alan Parsons Project
  3. Soul Meets Body - Death Cab for Cutie
  4. Everything you Want - Vertical Horizon
  5. Clocks - Coldplay
  6. Forever Young - Alphaville
  7. Noah's Dove - 10,000 Maniacs
  8. Prophecy - Remy Zero
  9. Eye in the Sky - Alan Parsons Project
  10. White Flag - Dido

Of course there are others. And there are complete albums that just blow me away such as "Strong Persuader" by Robert Cray or even "The New Edge" by Acoustic Alchemy. It is funny that no matter how different cultures are or how people vary in their spiritual beliefs, there is always music living as a common thread.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Riding a Bike

Went to a surprise birthday party last weekend for a college friend. Well, actually we met in High School, and like most high school friendships it died right after he graduated. We ended up at the same community college trying to figure out what we were interested in and that is when we started to form a bond. A bond that has lasted for the last 20 years; admittedly through less frequent contact over the past 10.

The interesting thing with this friendship is the club we formed at this community college called "lounge". An interesting name, but really not that clever given that is where we hung out. It wasn't anything formal by any stretch of the imagination. Just a group of friends that met from semester to semester and decided to spend free time together. On some days this lasted from 7am until 7pm. Interesting since most of us didn't have classes before 9am, and got out by 4pm.

It is hard to describe what "lounge" was like, but I do know it had a profound impact on who I am today. More so than the 19 years of my life before it. It was a place where everyone was equal. All ideas were worthy of discussion, and anyone was welcome. We talked about our futures, our past, poetry, books, music, movies, and even what would happen if the government facility next door accidently released some kind of pathogen. Which by they way I am certain happened. Sheep in fields just don't multiple, disappear, and then multiply like that without some kind of unnatural intervention.

One of my favorite pastimes was referred to as "talk about a subject". A simple game, but one that exercised your mind as you did mental acrobatics. A person in "lounge" was selected as the speaker (usually when they weren't there), and someone else would yell out a topic (such as why do slugs dissolve when engulfed in salt). So, when I walked into lounge after class one day I was hit with this topic and told to defend and/or discuss my thoughts on this issue. Quickly I came up with some stupid story that slugs don't actually dissolve, they simple bury themselves because they think it is snowing. Dumb, I know, but entertaining for all involved none the less. If nothing else my anxiety of speaking in public was dissolved in "lounge".

By the time our tenure ended at this community college (which took longer than it should have), we had professors stopping in each morning to read the thought or poem posted on the blackboards for the day. We all took turns, and they were all brilliant.

Fortunately, several of us ended up at the same 4 year institution to finish out our degrees. A new social group was quickly formed call Beta Phi Delta (or BFD for short). This was our way of snubbing our noses at the fraternities and sororities of the university. Not that we didn't think they were valuable in their own way, but the whole idea of a "closed" club and hell week didn't fly with us. Anyone was welcome to join BFD; male or female, any race, any religion, or any background. It got to the point where we were mostly made up of members that belonged to other frats and sororities. Of course, that had to be kept a secret in fear of loosing their status. To really dig in the idea of a free social club we even had t-shirts, hats, and sweaters done with Greek letters. That got under everyone's skin and made us feel even better. By the time I graduated, there were BFD franchises in 2 other neighboring universities.

For the most part I haven't seen the majority of these individuals since graduation about 15 years ago. This is where the b-day party I mentioned earlier comes in. We had a blast! We talked about old times, shared stories of wives, kids, jobs, trials and tribulations. We all knew exactly how to talk with each other like we were together yesterday. It was just like riding a bike.