OM77 - Inversion Goggles

John’s dream (OM77)

John had an interesting dream about a geographical area that was very familiar to him. He knew he had been there before and after he woke up, he was struggling to remember where this place was. The dream degraded and dissipated in waking time and it is going to haunt him like a horse ghost. Usually it is illusory when you are convinced that the thing that happened in your dream reflected a memory, but this was very real. He might also have dreamt about this many times before because he could recall many different interactions with that physical space. There was a Peninsula that was accessible by a railroad, but there were also horse ghosts all around.

Running the Bulls in Pamplona (OM77)

The bullfighting tradition exists even in France, because the Basque territory also encompasses the South of France around the Pyrenees.

Ken has once been in a bull chase in a small Spanish village together with his family. There are events like that in a bunch of villages, but Pamplona is the destination number one. They barricade off a path on the streets and run the bulls through the streets into the Corrida where the bullfight takes place. John has been in Pamplona for the Sanfermines, but he did not see the running, because it takes place very early in the morning.

At the time John was sleeping in parks because he didn’t have the money for a hotel. One would think that someone sleeping on park benches should be a morning person, but John would stay up very late and would then lay down to catch some sleep. A couple of times someone shook his shoulder and told him that they were running the bulls, but John always rolled over and pulled his dusty blanket back over his head. He was in Pamplona for the entire week of the festival, but he never managed to make it over to the run. He went to the bullfights, though.

When Ken was there, he did run with the bulls. You always want to make sure to keep half the town between you and the bulls and if you are running a quarter mile ahead of the bulls, you will do great. As they say in Alaska: You don’t have to run faster than the bear, but only faster than your friend, or in this case the drunk Spanish man that is a little closer to the horns than you are.

John can never fully put himself back into his 20-year old self to understand what was motivating that person exactly. He made it all the way to Pamplona, he was there for the entire festival, he drank Sangria with the people, he had a white shirt on and a red belt, the whole nine, but the actual running of the bulls happened at dawn and John just never made it. Ken was living in Salt Lake City during the Olympics in 2002 and he saw nothing for the same reason: Everything was incredibly early. They tried to go to the ski jump once and it got cancelled because of high winds.

Visiting the Statue of Liberty and the World Trade Center (OM77)

People in New York never go to the Statue of Liberty unless they have relatives in town. Ken has been there, but John hasn’t either (”You never listen to me, do you?”). You can’t go up to the torch, but Ken thinks you can go to the crown if you make tickets in advance.

John’s dad and sister went in the 1970s and if John remembers correctly, they were able to go up the torch if it wasn’t already closed in 1975. John’s dad was connected and was able to make a phone call and get into almost anywhere. He was part of some smoke-filled Democratic party machine and he could call a corrupt political boss in New York and get to the top of the Statue of Liberty, that is how corrupt Democratic political machines work. It is the most frequent call they get and they have a dedicated option for it in the phone tree.

John was on top of the World Trade Center on September 1st, 2001. He had been wanting to go up there for decades and he told himself he was just going to do it. He was there with a friend and they climbed up on the roof where you could visit the Windows of the World restaurant and the observation deck. This was after they tried to blow it up with the truck bomb in 1993 and as they stood up there, they talked about all the ways you could destroy the World Trade Center, but it never occurred to them to fly an airplane into it, which made it quite diabolical!

We have more than 5 senses (OM77)

We have more than 5 senses. For example: John’s daughter’s mother can tell what John is thinking, but she can’t. It is a self-reported finding and she thinks she has a super-power.

Walking through the Whittier train tunnel (OM77)

One time John had the experience of walking through a train tunnel in the middle of the night where there was no light at all. None! Not even just the faintest amount of ambient light. The difference between eyes open and eyes closed was imperceptible.

John was walking though the 2.5 mile long (4 km) Whittier tunnel outside of Whittier, Alaska, a little coastal village. It is a train tunnel that doesn't have a road, so after the last train went at night, you can not longer leave Whittier until the following day when the first train arrives. John was in a bar in Whittier with a couple of guys and they had missed the last train. They told the bartender that they were going to walk through the tunnel, but the bartender said that he would not do that and they were dumb if they tried, but they were young and didn’t have any fears.

They went into the tunnel and realized very quickly that it was a terrible idea. The ground between the railroad ties was often not there and when you would try to put your foot down between them you often couldn't feel the dirt and had to step from tie to tie. Groundwater is dripping from the ceiling all the time and it is horrifying! They discovered that even if you couldn’t see anything with your eyes open, it was very difficult to walk forward if you closed your eyes. They would put their hands out in front, but they were incapacitated when they closed their eyes, but with their eyes open, although they could still see nothing, it was easier to walk. Your brain wants your eyes open!

They did every experiment they could to imagine that there was something to see and there wasn’t. There is a strong aversion to the idea of walking into an unknown space with your eyes closed. With their eyes open it was still terrifying, but at least they could make forward progress. John was in front, the guy behind him put a hand on John’s shoulder and the guy behind him put a hand on his shoulder and the three of them made a human caterpillar. It took them all night to get through this tunnel, they were walking as fast as they could, but that was not very fast.

There is another one of those long train tunnels up on the John Wayne Iron Horse trail up Snoqualmie pass, the longest in America and one of the longest in the world. Ken didn’t realize he was coming up on it, but half a mile away the weather changes and it gets physically cooler on the trail, probably because the inside of the mountain is blasting its cold inside-of-a-mountain-air.

Cutting your own hair (OM77)

John asked Ken if he cuts his own hair. Although he doesn’t want to insult Ken's barber, it would be possible because Ken seems like one of those libertarian characters who might cut his own hair. It is the core of Ken’s libertarianism and he is sick of the government controlling his hair styling! Ken’s hair does look like the government is controlling it because he looks like a CIA agent from the 1950s.

John does cut his own hair and trying to operate scissors in a mirror on the back of your head is really like if John keeps turning a tea cup upside down, because you are moving the scissors, but you are also trying to orient them in the right direction on all three axis because John’s head is 3-dimensional, while Ken’s head is 4-dimensional. Ken has to cut his hair in time as well, keeping in mind when it is going to grow a week or a month into the future. He is picturing it at all times! Ken's head is a Tesseract and as he turns his head, different rays and arms appear and disappear.

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