Welcome to whatever is on my mind!

Some people use the term "nonsense" but I prefer to use the phrase "uncommonly sensed" because it's more reflective of creative types.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

How to Be The Best Mom Ever

I always sign notes to my kids from “The Best Mom Ever.” After all, they’ve never had any other mother, so how would they know if I’m lying? Did they shop around before choosing me? Did they order their mom from a catalog before they were born?

The truth is that every mother who puts forth an effort is The Best Mom Ever because motherhood is the hardest job. Ever. No other job pays so little and demands 24/7 from a person, yet for some reason mothers are always thinking that we can do better.

But no one is perfect. If every kid had a mother who made their lives run as smoothly and sweetly as a milkshake, then no one would learn to be compassionate or how to handle stress, and these evolve from understanding that not everything can be controlled. No child will fully mature unless they learn personal responsibility, and if everything is managed for children they don’t learn to manage themselves. We need imperfect environments and bumpy roads to help us grow.

So if you want to be The Best Mom Ever ask yourself these questions:

1. Am I doing what I think is right?
2. Do I consider the best interests of my chil(dren) when making decisions?

If so, then relax. You may not be perfect, but you’re still The Best Mom Ever.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Looking for Creepy?

You may not be aware that the celebration of Halloween originated here in Ireland. Unless, of course, you're Irish (or possibly Welsh or from another nearby location).

So, in preparation for Halloween I visited two of the most haunted places in Ireland. Because that's what I do for fun. Let's face it: anything that's haunted has a good story behind it, and I love good stories. So I had to explore.

The first place I visited is Loftus Hall, which offers special Halloween-themed tours of the diabolical building. Prior to taking the tour I spoke with a local who had gone through the building a few years ago and insisted that she would never set foot in it ever again because she was convinced it was completely evil. Lord Loftus was apparently not a very nice man, and the stories of his brutal mistreatment of servants and family members are so legendary he is rumored to have been close personal friends with the devil.

The second location I visited is in the Dublin Mountains and is known as The Hellfire Club. This building sits at the top of Mountpelier hill, and has a very dark past starting with the fact that the builder took stones from an ancient druid burial site to construct the building. The devil is reported to have been so outraged over this blasphemous act that he blew off the roof of the building within days of construction. Archeologists have recently validated that there is a 4,500 year old tomb beneath the building, so while not all the stories about the lodge and it’s owners may be true they appear to have their roots buried within some level of truth.

You can read more about the dark histories of these buildings in other places (see below for links). What I found interesting is that they share a story in common. No one knows if the same incident happened twice, or if folklore has attributed the same incident to 2 different locations. This wouldn’t be surprising, given that Lord Loftus also owned a hunting lodge in the Dublin Mountains, and the owners of these two lodges were both known for the brutal treatment and occasional murder of servants.

The story is that there was a group of individuals playing cards on a stormy evening, when a dark visitor arrived and asked for shelter while the storm passed. The gentleman joined the game and everything appeared to be going fine when one of the ladies accidentally dropped one her cards beneath the table. As the young lady reached for the card she noticed that the stranger wasn’t wearing boots, but had hoofs instead of regular feet. When the young lady screamed, the stranger burst into flames and vanished.

In the Loftus Hall version the daughter then becomes pregnant out of wedlock and is locked in her room for a decade or so (some say she died during this imprisonment and was buried within the walls of the house for a period, which is why her ghost remains there). In the Hellfire Club version the hunting lodge is turned into a place of satanic rituals complete with human and animal sacrifices (among other debauchery).

Regardless of what you believe, these two places definitely deliver the creep factor.

Here are a few photos I took of the Hellfire Club.

Loftus Hall doesn't allow pictures of the interior, but here's a quick picture I took as the moon was rising just prior to my visit.

Learn more about Loftus Hall and The Hellfire Club by clicking on these links:
Loftus Hall
The Hellfire Club

Monday, June 12, 2017

Discovering Philip K. Dick

I wasn't a big reader of science fiction, so I’d never read Philip K. Dick’s work, despite having seen Bladerunner over a dozen times. However, I recently watched the Amazon series The Man in the High castle, and while I loved the first season I lost interest during the second season. That’s when I asked the age-old question: How much better was the book?

We all know that movies and TV series almost always fall short of the books upon which these are based. A visual medium has some advantages over the printed word, but it also has limitations. A picture is worth a thousand words, but the printed word has the ability to provide insight into the cognitive depth of the characters. This is where the Amazon series fell short for me: it began with an alternate reality in which the characters discover the possibility of an alternate reality that is our current reality.

If this sounds a bit like reality inception, that’s because it is - but this concept alone isn’t what made the book more interesting. The characters’ psychological responses to the threat (or promise) of a different reality and the conjectures they make on the plausibility of our current reality are fascinating. This provides insight into the subjective nature of perception, especially when it comes to politics. It’s more than a simple picture of what things would look like if Hitler had won WWII. This books explores human nature and our psychological defenses. In other words, it’s the human, rather than scientific, element that makes the book speak to us.

I have since finished both Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (which became the movie “Bladerunner”) and The Man in the High Castle, and am starting on Ubik, considered by many critics to be Dick’s masterpiece. I have a lot of respect for Philip K. Dick as a writer after reading these books. Even if you don’t think you’d like science fiction, you might want to sample a bit of this author’s work. It’s worth your time.