Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Two More Holiday Obessions

For the month of December I took the spirit of holiday obsessing (shopping, complaining, worrying, worshipping, travelling) to two more places for me.

1) I discovered a fun webite called that invites those great "dumb" questions about everyday things that we all encounter in the course of life. We either collect such puzzles or shrug them off, and you can guess into which camp I fall. The site’s answers were pretty darn good, so I unleashed my biggest riddle.


Hi, I love your website, thank you! Here is my stumper of a question, please let me know if/when you have an answer since it has vexed me for decades!

Everyone loves to say that every snowflake is different, and the variety of forms demonstrates this is true or nearly so. But no one seems to explain how the 6 symmetric yet relatively independent arms or sides of snowflakes know how to match each other. Please help me understand if something quantum or metaphysical is going on here!

Carl Schroeder
Swampscott, MA

If I get an answer I’ll count it as a Christmas present from the universe. Seriously, I asked the head of Harvard’s mineralogy department when I was in the rock club there (as a sign of my age, my preferred kind of rock club, thank you very much.) He did say that it’s a myth that snowflakes are unique or perfect, there are many duplicates and many are malformed, but I still wasn’t convinced that there wasn’t something amazing going on. Most minerals crystallize in a limited number of patterns that are dependent on environmental conditions like temperature and impurities, so I think water is making unprecedented symmetric improvisations within each snowflake that deserve some deeper explanations. It’s common metaphysical belief that water is extremely responsive to more surrounding variables than science can measure, and you’ve probably heard of the experiments by Japanese scientist Masaru Emoto that claim to show that water crystals become more beautiful when emotions are loving around them. Since we and the planet are mostly water, and the specialty of humans is to generate thoughts and feelings, our potential to reform the Earth seems bigger than ever. Emoto also claims that classical music makes the best snowflakes and rock music makes ugly ones, so he seems simplistically judgmental and unable to account for the uses to which things are put. I'm sure jackhammers make terrible snowflakes, but I wouldn't want to build cities without them.

2) I really dig the whole parallel universe and other dimensions theme that is increasingly popular in science fiction. At best, I think it shows growing desire in humanity for spiritual contact and better ways to live. So when a new miniseries debuted this month on SciFi channel with great actors and alternate reality as more than just another device to get bad guys and good guys together for a stupid showdown, I had to check it out. Turns out that "The Lost Room" is so amazing that within a span of 4 days I surprised myself by not only watching the whole 6 hour event twice, but also writing a 10 page analysis that I promptly posted on my website and then submitted as external link for the film on and After the marathon was over and I caught up on sleep, I managed to pull together an executive summary of my newfound fandom to post additionally as a user comment on imdb. So here's my comment below, and you can follow this link for my complete synopsis and analysis on "The Lost Room".

Superlative puzzle adventure profoundly does add up, 19 December 2006
Rating 10/10
Author: carl-more-in-than-out-of-body from Boston, USA
*** This comment may contain spoilers ***
One of the most amazing mini-series ever made, with great actors and clever weird story that draws upon genre precedents while raising the bar. Initial low audience numbers suggest it won't be made into a series, at least not by the big guns at SciFi and NBC, but maybe it will find a longer life somewhere else, like in fan fiction or a licensed sequel. Not that it's required. One of the biggest viewer complaints is that it didn't add up, but I would beg to differ. This is a very complete and archetypal story, as suggested early on by the emphasis on cults and the Objects being pieces of God. As such there is both causal logic and spiritual logic. By causal logic I mean that there are not a lot of red herrings or inconsistencies. The internal rules are quite well followed and cleverly used by characters. For example, this is not a room from a parallel universe that had a room 10, it came as stated from this world and was removed from the time-line of impermanence, since the janitor's fingerprint was left in the room, the Occupant is a very normal guy who knew where to find his wife, she had a subconscious if not conscious memory of him and thus never remarried, etc. The room somehow became its own universe, normal and balanced unto itself, but when its Objects are brought back into our reality they necessarily carry the bigger energies of an entire universe. The properties of the reset are well explored: it acts like a motel room being remade for the key holder, foreign objects are removed and held at the energy source of the room (cosmic motel management), and our hero has to become the Occupant in order to both survive the reset and know what to ask for to be returned, namely his daughter. It's not clear that all of this is justifiable in quantum mechanics and string theory, and the show is not particularly showcasing quantum concepts like non-locality (unless you think that helps explain how the room can open on every other door, etc.) More compellingly, the show originates from and leave us with a spiritual logic. It's a mystical road movie in which Joe Miller meets the Buddha and has to kill him, because only he can fulfill his own love and purpose. Enlightenment removes us from normal reality; Joe now has immortality and indestructibility signifying the bodhisattva. Room 10 is the calm center that mediates with primal energies, it is like the personal Soul which connects with the white light of the reset, i.e. God. On the Journey to Godhead all characters get what they deserve, including ruthless Karl who joins his dead son in the white light without the moral grounds to return to Earth, and Marty the Lucifer character who is lost in the worship of his ego cult and thinks he will become God (don't hold your breath). I could be wrong, but I think the creators behind this project knew what they were doing, unconsciously at least, and we're given a complete enlightenment parable that will add up for years to come, with or without a sequel. Bravo to all involved!

Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 02, 2006


Introducing Eli

Truth be told! I've been increasingly distracted from my usual art projects for the past two years, and here's why. With the happy ending at last, you're invited to meet our adopted son Elijah at this link on my church's website. God bless families who take the plunge to adopt children from around the world who so desperately need a home and love; may you all make it through the unique trials and joys of this amazing process.

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