I Floated in the Infinite Black Abyss and So Should You

For my birthday, Kat gave me what is easily the most unique gift I've ever received: three sessions in an isolation tank. Normally a loved one telling you to go lock yourself in a water-filled tomb might put some people off, but it was something I had mentioned several times before that I wanted to check out, so I was pretty excited. 

It was surprisingly difficult to find a spare hour to float alone in a silent, dark pod, but I was able to book my first session a mere 10 days later. I wasn't quite sure what to expect: I've heard varying reports on the experience, from "peaceful floating nap time" to "mind-altering, overwhelming dive into your own terrifying consciousness that will permanently alter your thinking or maybe even drive you insane." Which when you think about it would not be a great birthday present at all.

I showed up slightly late because I'd gotten into an argument with Kat, because when you're about to spend an hour alone with only your thoughts you definitely want to be agitated and upset with your spouse. The lady at the counter asked me if someone had told me to come early, which is a really polite way of saying, "You're late, fucker." She asked if I'd done this before and, when I said no, made me sit down with a little tablet to watch a helpful informational video about floating that I pretended to watch while skipping forward when she wasn't looking.

"Any questions?" 

"Nope, I think the video covered it." She nodded and led me to a dark room with a spaceship in it.

Seriously, Barry. Stop it.

Look man, I like it when we can just hang out. But you just KEEP. EMAILING. ME. 

And don't patronize me with this "chat?" thing. You never ask how I'm doing; you just want to talk about your healthcare thing. And I get it; the healthcare thing is super cool. I'm proud of you. But friendship is a two way street.


Diary of Descent: June


June 8
Thought we were out of the woods, but it took all of a day for James to find us. We were scrounging the RV park for supplies; a few people either took off without packing up or died before they could make it out so we were able to come up with some food. I wish anything outside of a can survived the apocalypse; I'm really getting sick of chili. 


Real-Time Data

I'm sure people smarter than me have commented on this already, but for all its flaws Facebook can give you an amazing insight into how knowledge transcends cultural and social boundaries.

For the last few weeks I've been watching the same story move across my Friends list, popping up in seemingly isolated groups of people only to be dispersed across their own networks, joining up with "in common" friends who remark "Hey, so and so just shared that the other day!"

It's a fascinating glimpse into how information and culture slowly permeate a social group, and to watch it unfold kind of awakened me to some "hidden" networks I wasn't aware of.

But seriously, enough with the fucking invisible bike helmet already.


That is Terrifying but Not in the Way I Expected

Quick, what's the scariest part of skydiving: 

The earth rushing up to greet you at what seems like a million miles an hour?
The thought that your parachute could fail?
Having a heart attack mid-jump and failing to open your chute?

Somehow skewering yourself on a radio antenna?

Okay maybe that last one is a stretch. I've never wanted to go skydiving, mainly because I'm afraid of heights and I get that weird "Oh god I'm going to fall I'm definitely going to fall it's only a matter of time" feeling when I'm on a ladder at my house, let alone a thousand feet in the air staring out an open door on a plane. I went bungee jumping once when my pal Tim worked at a theme park in Florida. Despite the fact that I watched roughly a dozen people do it before me, when I got all roped up and to the edge of the platform it took me probably a solid 15 minutes to force myself to walk off the edge (I'm glad I did it, but it wasn't thrilling enough to make me want to do it again).

But never in my most acrophobic nightmares have I considered the possibility of this happening: