Dear Editor formerly known at the Producer

Oh the hypnagogic… I’m already 100 pages into your delightful book, playing with my big grey noodle while I wring the pages for sweet intellectual ambrosia. Delicious.

I was stranded at Pearson for seven hours due to a flub up with my reservation. I spent the first bit in fitful starts of sleep, trying to make myself comfortable in the most isolated spot I could find. My bag was not really adequetely packed to function as a pillow. Fortunately I remembered something and made a point to persue it as soon as I could check in.

Westjet flights go out of B wing in terminal three. A busy, bustling nightmare of bodies and breath and clueless travellers. But under the tarmac and three magic carpets away lies something else, an airport oasis of a sort, unknown to all but the few…

A wing. Half a dozen gates that never, ever get used. The underground hallway to reach them is so long that the doors at the opposite end could stack one upon the other on your fingernail. A million miles away from the cow herding gridlock. The lights are on, once in a while a staffer wanders by in a neon orange vest, but for the most part you are totally alone. The storefronts are derelict, empty, no shelves, cash registers dead, nothing makes a sound.

If you’re stuck in Pearson, there’s no better place to spend a few hours, with 180 degrees of glass enclosed views, and nobody around.

This is where I dipped my toes into The Head Trip.

The combination of the engrossing subject matter and the isolation attuned my brain in a way that I rarely get to experience. Crystal fucking clarity. No convention, no expectation, just me, my brain and my senses. No society, no blathering crackling PA system. Clarity. Abandonment is such a beautiful place to find things.

When I boarded the flight I got a window seat, put my jacket in the porthole and immediately set out for the hypnagogic void. I think that’s why I enjoy sleeping on planes, busses and trains so much. Its a transitory space with nothing to do. No better place or time to play in the foyer of dreams, going down in bouts of ten to twenty minutes, interrupted only by drink service and snack mix.

Tonight I just finished reading The Wake and looked at my own sleep habits in the mirror, the natural unfiltered one. My wake is backwards and upside down, happening somewhere between noon and two pm. I did it today. Got up for a few hours around midday, then wandered back to sleep until about five or six. Now I’m ready for my night’s work, alert and ready to go.

I also think about those nights spent in the Temple of Respect, the Kanuckistan dome or piled among strangers around some deep playa fire sculpture while fireballs concuss nearby. Polyphasic tribal sleep is some of the most beautiful and restful I’ve ever had. Party crashouts might be the #1 way to go.

If I follow my own circadian rhythms I’ll probably be up until about seven. How I ended up with a nocturnal brain we may never know, but its how I roll.

Hope you’re doing well with your readjustment to work and a rum reduced diet.

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My soda is too rough

A couple of days ago I was working the check-in counter at the airport, asking the eternal question;  “Window or aisle?” in both official languages – “Hublot ou allée?”  A woman was checking in with her young son, and trying to humour him asked him what his favourite number was. He responded, “Seven.” Then he said something peculiar, something that most people would let pass by without a second thought, “Seven is yellow.”

I’m sure the woman failed to notice it, but I did. Her son is quite possibly syntesthetic, that is he has multi-sensory perceptions whereas most of us have only one to one sensory relationships. To me seven is a number, and that’s all, but to this boy numbers are more than just abstract concepts, they also posses colour, possibly even tones and hues. Say a number and it will instantly conjure up a colour in his mind, consistently, involuntarily and without fail.

Scientists estimate that about X in Y people are synesthetic and it comes in various flavours, not just numbers and colours. Tastes can be associated with textures, feeling with colour and so forth. Almost any set of senses can be combined in a synesthetic s brain, entwined and natural as you or I find our singular senses of sight, smell, hearing and touch.  Richard Cytowic has published an excellent book on the subject entitled The Man Who Tasted Shapes.

Personally I think that synesthesia is much more widespread than scientists would have us believe. That child I met two days ago probably has no idea that others don’t see colours in numbers. A good friend of mine I found out only a few months ago attaches colours to words, something which helps him in memorization. Until I heard him casually mention that my name was brown I had no idea, and until I mentioned it to him he’d just assumed that everyone was that way.

Personally I find it fascinating that our minds can do such things, and it proves that there’s much still to learn about perception and the human brain. As I think about synesthesia and my two recent encounters with it in others I find myself thinking about music videos and VJing. Afterall, what else is the projector screen in a club but an attempt at creating a synesthetic experience for the viewers? It’s a chance to meld the senses, to combine them and create an experience that s greater than the individual elements.

Perhaps that’s one of the reasons that the relationship between music and light is so special to me. It’s a way to touch a perceptive experience that I will never experience inside my own brain aside from a few psychedelic experiments. I wonder, maybe, just maybe if we bring our senses together, these things that seem so different and unrelated, perhaps we can bring ourselves closer to the universe and the meaning of it all. Or maybe I’m just another damn hippy.

Left or Right?

Heard about this study on French radio a couple of weeks ago but only bothered to Google it now after reading some frustrated ranting against Dubya’s conservative rodeo in Washington in a friend’s blog. Pretty interesting and probably worth further investigation. Maybe it even supports my idea to weight votes based upon the voter’s IQ and other intelligence factors. Just think of it, someone with an IQ of 120 with fifty percent more voting power than someone with an IQ of 90. Seems reasonable to me.

I wonder what defines anarchist brain activity…