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Googlewhack (serendipity)

"As we grow as unique persons, we learn to respect the uniqueness of others". -Robert Schuller.

"Envy is a symptom of lack of appreciation of our own uniqueness and self-worth. Each of us has something to give that no one else has." - Anonymous.

"It is our individual uniqueness that makes us all the same". -Me.

A bit of an eye-opener for you today.

I'm not sure where it all started...it depends, I suppose, on how far back you want to trace the unending chain of events before turning around and starting back to here. I'm going to start with my record collection, since each morning I spend an hour or two bringing more and more of it to light again, dusting the covers off, and arranging them on my shelves in the basement in alphabetical order by artist. All because I want to burn a lot of the music to CD's and an MP3 player so I'll have the music in a more current and convenient format.

Well, in order to get to most of the records, I have to climb through and over a ridiculous number of boxes accumulated over the years which I have put "out of sight, out of mind" to be sorted someday. So I've decided someday has also arrived, and I've been sorting through my memories and souvenirs, and junk from the past.

So I guess it all started when my brother and his wife spent a year overseas. My sister-in-law is deathly afraid to fly, so they took a boat over from Montreal (I lived in Montreal at the time---early 70's...gave them a surprise going away party which Dave refers to his latest podcast with Jay, when he reminiscences about his earliest childhood memory of seeing an Expos game at Jarry Park when he was about four years old...at least I think it was the same visit, I could be wrong!), bought a car, toured Europe for a year, and then came back by boat landing in New York with the car aboard. I went down the night before their arrival to meet them in New York as a surprise, and like any good hotel guest would do, I nicked the writing paper and envelopes from my room. I came across it in a box yesterday.

Well, it actually probably all started with my 89-year-old aunt in Brockville, who has always been a second Mom to us kids. She's my Mom's youngest sister, and they never had kids of their own, so they sort of adopted us. She is a cryptic crossword puzzle nut, still doing at least one or two a day at the age of 89. Most of the words I don't get even after she explains them to me. Unfortunately, she has a throat condition which makes it very difficult for her to talk, and I have a hearing problem which makes it very difficult for me to hear, especially on the phone, so I don't call very often, and feel very guilty about it. She's probably the only person I know who doesn't have e-mail, but she loves to write letters, and is the type of person that, if you write her, there's a reply in the mail that day. You just can't keep up, so I haven't written much either. In fact, I've fallen out of touch with almost everyone I know, and have decided to climb back on board the social train, limited as it is for me.

I guess it started the other night when I called one of my friends I hadn't heard from in months (since well before Christmas....I was best man at both his weddings, and he and his wife and I used to get together once a month or so for dinner and a movie). So I called the other day to make up for lost time, and found out that he's very uncomfortable talking with me now because sometimes I don't make a lot of sense. Well, most of my life that's probably been true, but I guess when I'm hypomanic it's magnified; but, honestly, I was hurt that it would be bad enough to apparently cost a friendship. We're getting together for lunch on Saturday, but it'll be at the back of my mind every time I open my mouth. Life can be awkward sometimes I guess.

It really started, I suppose, when I got Jay Ingram's book on "The Theatre of the Mind" and decided that I was going to read more, now that I have time, and not waste so much time of each day. As with most books, I haven't finished it yet, but yesterday when I was unpacking boxes, I came across a box with six books I had won as a door prize at a bookstore last year.

You see, I have a friend who reads voraciously, and I usually get him a gift certificate or a book at this really neat family-owned book store in town. They were having a promotion of sorts, and I put my name in. Much to my surprise, a few weeks later they called and said I had won 6 books and a great Ziggy wall poster. I found the box with the books yesterday.

I suppose, though, it really started way back when I was teaching. One of the exercises I used to use in a course I taught on creative thinking was for the students to randomly open any of their textbooks or a dictionary and point to a substantive word and write it down. Then repeat the exercise. Their job was to create a plausible linkage between the two words or the concept they stood for in as few steps as possible, (supporting my contention that everything is connected fairly directly to everything else).

So I wrote my aunt a really newsy letter on the notepaper I found and didn't want to go to waste, and I started reading one of the six books titled "Googlewhack" by Dave Gorman. It's quite a funny book actually, in which he explores the phenomenon of a Googlewhack. The rules are here, even having its very own website.

Now, before I started writing this entry, I did a Google search on the word 'Googlewhack', and it returned 261,000 hits, so you may know what it's all about already. I didn't. A googlewhack is a page that has a pair of words on it that no other page of the 3 billion plus pages that google searches has. In other words, you get only one, and exactly one hit. Now there are a few rules. The words have to be in the google dictionary or it doesn't count, they can't be on a page just listing words like a dictionary page, and so on.

But here's the neat thing. The guy that wrote the book started out to write a novel ("Hugh's Hue") about a guy who had discovered a new primary colour, but couldn't describe it to anyone else because no one else had any frame of reference for it, after all (a little bit like I feel about about my theory of 'is'). But he had writer's block, and quite by accident, discovered that he had turned out to be a googlewhackee. Some guy in Australia was a googlewhacker, discovered the author's uniqueness, and wrote him about it. It got him as addicted as I'm becoming to fractals.

The cool thing is, one day while he still had writer's block, he picked up the cryptic crossword puzzle, and managed to get it completed. He rarely did. He realized while doing it that here was a collection of disassociated words that had a bit of a common theme and deduced that a cryptic puzzle would be a good googlewhack generator engine. He tried it and it worked. A few weeks later, he discovered he had won a dictionary for being one of the five people to solve the puzzle. I guess winning books is a common kind of prize.

So I suppose it started with my aunt, who does cryptic puzzles, and I wrote her a letter on writing paper I've hoarded for over 30 years that I found on the same day that I came across a book I won about Googlewhack's, on the day before I didn't know what I'd write about in my google entry today, because I was having writer's block because of a troubling blog I had seen elsewhere and wanted to respond to (see yesterday's blog) but, in my better judgement, thought better of it.

And then I started wondering things like: If there was a googlewhacker's club, how could they report their finds to other members without destroying the original find, thus taking away the claim to fame of the original page, and cheapening the whole process by a form of almost-plagarism. Should Googlewhack's that are created by someone who intentionally sets out with the sole purpose of creating one be in a different class than one that is created quite by accident? I started wondering other things like that, until my head started hurting, and I decided it was time for bed. But I knew what I was going to write about in my blog today, at least!

"I am asleep. Now, I'm not asleep. But I'm not yet awake. I'm in the twilight zone somewhere in between; no longer dreaming, not yet conscious. The synapses of my brain are just beginning to fire up, sensations drip, drip, dripping into my central nervous system, each drip bringing me closer to reality.
...I try to rewind the dream to delay the inevitable, but the video of my mind has broken and the dream is not only over but gone. Something to do with lemons, maybe not. No. Forgotten. Lost without a trace. Drip.....
....I lift the flap of the envelope and peek inside.
Washington DC! A ticket to Washington DC! It is a ticket to insanity., to obsession, to the start of an adventure; a googlewhack adventure

That's how the book starts out (I've left out some pieces). Gary, one of the fellows who comments farly regulary on my blogs is from Washington, D.C. I wonder if he's a Googlewhacker? He uses big words a lot. He has a superb mastery of the language, in fact. And at breakfast, I was going through some recipes I want to try out in my new slow-cooker. There's a good one for chicken thighs which I settled on. It includes fresh-squeezed lemon juice and a teaspoon of grated lemon rind. Hmmmm.....

....and just at this instant as I finished typing this entry, I heard the familiar tone indicating I have e-mail. It's this comment from Gary, commenting on my comments a few days ago about my authority to speak about my theory. Is something going on here?!!!

Just thought you might be interested!

PEACE Dividend: googlewhack this!,
takes you to a blog site and then click on Weblog link.

Some mildly strange stuff.

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  • I'm Evydense
  • From Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • And I'm tired of living in the shadow of narrow-mindedness and ignorance. So here's the fax, Jack! "The Bible contains six admonishments to homosexuals and three hundred and sixty-two admonishments to heterosexuals. That doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals. It's just that they need more supervision." - Lynne Lavner*** I'm confused; curious; satisfied; realistically resigned to being a frustrated idealist; usually at peace with myself, but not always. Amazed at how little I know, and wondering how much I need to understand.
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