Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Advanced computer science question

How do I get a half a cup of hummus out of my keyboard?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Message in a bottle

I’ve been whoring around yoga-wise, and today I stumbled into a basics class at a studio nearby that knocked my socks off. The teacher was explaining how every movement and limb placement affects the rest of the body. To illustrate his point, he recalled taking care of his mother after she’d had abdominal surgery. Among other services, she needed him to open a pickle jar. “Think about it,” he said. “Twisting a lid off a jar causes you to bear down. Everything is connected.”

Yoga is like a weird kind of poetry, that turns ordinary moments into elemental truths.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Upward guide dog

My yoga teacher yesterday described being in a subway car packed with cranky, impatient passengers. At one stop, a blind man with a guide dog entered the car. And suddenly there was an oasis of calm amid the rush-hour roar.

When the man and his dog got off at Union Square, which was her stop too, my yoga teacher resolved to follow them so that she could provide assistance in navigating the multiple stairwells and long traverses of that vast station. But they needed no help, she saw, watching them methodically thread their way up ramps and around columns and through turnstiles to their exit. They had had years of practice, she realized, and had come to trust each other deeply.

And so it is with yoga, she said, which also takes years of practice, develops a deep trust as the practice and the practitioner adapt to each other, and in the end fosters calm and confidence.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Killer heart

My friends think of me as a gentle soul (right, friends?). But a killer alter ego lurks within. So it is that when I saw a gang of teenagers using a battery-operated bug-zapping tennis-racket-shaped flyswatter on the mosquito-infested Maine island where I vacation, I was desperate to get one.

The kids were sitting on a deck at dusk, idly waving the thing to and fro—not aiming—and the air was filled with the sound of ZAP! ZAP! ZAP! A faint odor of fried bugmeat burned my nostrils. I begged for a turn—and screamed with delight at my first kill.

It was a heady thrill—though I felt guilt about the pleasure I took in searching out insects in open nature and killing them. It did feel wanton.

But that didn’t deter me from ordering the thing on Amazon as soon as I got home to Manhattan. After all, I told myself, I won’t use it outside, where bugs have every right to be. I’ll just go after home invaders.

But here’s the rub. There really aren’t a lot of insects in my apartment, and they’re just as hard to hit with the sizzler as they are with my open palm. Still, there’s something about that zapping sound and flash of light and drifting speck of ash that’s intoxicating. Is this how serial killers feel?

Monday, September 3, 2012