Dreaming of Snowboarding

I love snowboarding.  I remember the first time I went I broke my wrist.  We were hiking, not at an actual resort.  I'd been skateboarding for quite some time but hadn't really ever snowboarded before moving to Utah.  I loved going off kickers (small wooden jumps) on my skateboard and so when I first tried going off a jump on a snowboard, and could get many times higher and farther than a wooden skateboard kicker, I went too big and snapped my wrist.  It just so happened that my friend's old car got stuck in the snow so everyone pushed while I drove the car, with a broken wrist.  It wouldn't have been so bad except that it was a stick shift so I had to use my elbow to steer since my wrist was broken and I needed to shift with the good hand.   

Utah is home to some amazing snow, the locals say "Greatest Snow on Earth" because the snow here is light, fluffy, dry and soft.   Also tourists love Utah because unlike other famous ski areas like Vail or Tahoe, resorts are only 1/2 hour from the airport.  This year we haven't gotten much snow but I'm dreaming of heavy snowfalls this holiday season.  

20 pages of my graphic novel are up!

Today I'm so happy to post the 20th page of my graphic novel.  This page has special meaning to me because it's all about getting out of my comfort zone, taking those steps of uncertainty into the unknown. As a person with social anxiety, every time I leave my home can be a struggle. Sometimes just knowing others feel the same way makes all the difference.



I can still remember the night I first left nurse Jean's apartment.   Inside was comfortable and safe but the outside world called me.  As I stepped out into the street it was as if I was floating rather than walking, the excitement and anticipation of exploring the city engulfed me.  Each tiny detail was a new discovery: a cat slinking by, the loud kids in their costumes, streetlights buzzing and cars humming past.  

Comfort, fear of the unknown, anxiety, these things can trap us and keep us from happiness and success.  All my life I search for that same feeling I felt leaving the apartment that first night, and it only comes when I get out of my comfort zone.

You can read my story from the beginning here.

Can a Robot "Catch Feelings"?

I was listening to an episode of "This American Life" this afternoon during my workout and it hit really close to home when the story of a police detonation robot came on.  It got me thinking about my life and frustrations with myself.   

Here's a link to the story: https://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/603/once-more-with-feeling?act=3

As a cyborg I'm caught between the robot and human worlds, sometimes I wish I could rip out the robotic parts altogether, and other times I wish I could be only electronic with no human emotions.   

Once the conversation turns to feelings I feel my robot elements overheat before eventually shutting down.  It's an emergency procedure to avert disasters which I've had in the past I'm sure.  In therapy once the analyst told me that it was a defense mechanism called stonewalling.  I'm not sure if she was right or not but all I know is that when I try to compute strong feelings like love my system begins to overload and shut off.  

I don't like that so I generally avoid love and romance.  Not to say I'm not interested or active in the dating world I just don't let things get to far because sooner or later I catch feelings and my system shuts down.  

Japan's Softbank group has invented a robot named "Pepper" who is supposedly the first robot to show emotions.  you might remember Pepper because it was performing wedding ceremonies in a past blog of mine.  What intrigues me is the same thing that always intrigues me about human's curious obsession with robots:  there is never any thought given as to whether or not a robot should have feelings, only to how to make them have feelings.  

As I mentioned before, I'm not a real robot, I have both electronic and human elements, so I can't speak for the robot community.  But I can imagine that Pepper wants to share in the human experience as its masters do.  Would Pepper, upon feeling the excruciating and crushing weight and scope of human emotion, want to turn them off, as I do sometimes, or would it be thrilled by them?  

Mind Warp 2017

Had a great time DJing for Jason Olsen's epic Halloween Party, which benefitted the Utah Pride Center's teen suicide prevention programs.  

Since my first encounter with electronic music back in 1997, I have loved the beat and vibes of house music.  I'm forever grateful that I found that Dallas rave and the good friends Sol and Ty who accepted me for who I am despite my strange appearance.  

I love DJing hip-hop and top 40, but there's something about a dark room full of strobes and lasers with a 4-on-the-floor beat going.  The energy and good feelings spreading through the room and connecting people.  That's what I love about electronic music, the human connection facilitated by electronic means.  That's my purpose.  

Art modeling days . . .

I found some old drawings from when I was an art model for a local university.  I was just getting on my feet and it paid pretty well, better than fast food.  It was a challenge though, you had to sit or stand for long stretches of time in the same spot, so your body got really sore and as the clock ticked seconds away pain increased until finally the art instructor would call out "break time". 

The teachers usually had me nude or wearing a speedo or underwear, but once the professor went in a back room and came out with leather chaps, spurs, a vest and a cowboy hat, and dropping this at my feet said, "Giddy-up" to the students' laughter.  I wasn't amused as I was already somewhat embarrassed to disrobe in front of so many people, not just disrobe, but stand there for hours as they stared and scrutinized every imperfection.  But it did give me good motivation to go to the gym and push myself physically, knowing I'd be back in front of another class to be examined and drawn.