Absent For A Bit ....

I am away for a little while working on a few or more episodes for The Adventures of My Space Alien Alter Ego story ... will return (to Earth) soon!

Notice: Blogger has screwed up and lost a bunch of photos out of my blog! They are replaced with a gray silhouette of a human head. I will eventually get them replaced with the correct photo, it may take a while to find and fix everything. So some of my stories don't make much sense without their photos, sorry for the inconvenience.



Small Strange Children Befriend & Befuddle Me


I go for a walk at my park that is about 442 feet away from me according to Google Earth. That is the nearest point of the ovalesque asphalt track that is one quarter of a mile long in relationship to where I am sitting while typing these words. It is a very new track, with very little debris, mainly because my left foot has whisked away most of the rocks, twigs and human microtrash faster than it can accumulate over the last several weeks.

On yesterday's walk of three miles there were two small children that I did not know who came towards me on my first lap. They were probably ages 6 and 4, girl and boy, most likely sister and brother by the way she most holding him tightly around his shoulder with her right arm, being about a head taller. With her left hand she gave me an elevated wave and said "Hi" simply, and then we took a few more steps closer and she said, "We are just walking so we can get skinnier". I could not contain my laughter one hundred percent but I kept most of it bottled up as these two children were bean poles.  Any skinnier and they would be classified anorexic.

Before I tell you what my question to her was, remember I have no idea who these children are, total strangers. So I ask her, "Do you think I am getting skinnier?" Now bear in mind it has been decades since I would have been classified as skinny, nor do I remember if she has ever seen me before in order to truly make a comparison. 

She quickly answered, "Yes, (micro hesitation, her eyes squint) a little bit skinnier".

Good Answer!

Today I go back to the same park, but it is a little colder and I only want to walk a half mile and I just stop there in my truck on the way home instead of coming from the house on foot. My right knee is a bit sore, probably from yesterday.

Just as I start my walk I hear a strange noise coming from a little girl far away in the park. After a few moments I determine, yes, she is trying to make a chicken noise, or maybe whatever noise they teach city children is The Noise of The Chicken. There was clucking. Little girl clucking. Loudly.

So on the first lap there is a little boy that I notice is sneaking up behind me on the path se-mi-qui-et-ly, but when I turn around, he smiles, yells in fake fright and dashes away! 

I giggle. I no longer notice the cool air.

So then I notice that a little girl is farther down the path, the cluck cluck girl, only quiet with a smile, I think. She is at a distance that it is hard to see her expression. I resume my journey and complete the first lap.

One third of the way around the track the boy and girl are hiding behind trees and doing a poor job of it. They start off being ahead of me, but then slowly cautiously circle back behind me, giggling at their inventiveness, trying to be unseen by me. Every once in a while, though, I turn around suddenly and they see me and scatter, joyfully screaming. At the halfway mark I not only turn around but stand on one foot with the other foot quite a ways off the ground more than normal. They try to imitate but don't have my sense of balance, and almost topple. They don't know I have spent hours of my life standing on one foot. I resume my walk. 

I soon hear giggles behind me that sound different. I turn around to see them behind a trash can. First the boy's head pops out the north side, then a girl over the top, and then suddenly a third girl pops out the right side. Someone new has joined the peek-a-boo party at the park. I wave and they scatter back behind the trash can and one of them runs back to the trees.

I resume my walk, but they become more daring sneaking down the line of evergreen trees that line the inside west side of the ovalesque path. They are getting closer, but they soon run out of trees. I wave goodbye as I finish lap two. It's off to my truck and on to my home.

UPDATE: 2012.01.20 18:45

My fame has spread. Today there was a 33.33 percent increase in the number of strange children following me at the park, 4 instead of 3.


Julie Hutchinson said...

sounds like 'you see dead people...'
No - that's lovely that you can meet and play with little children with fear of stranger danger - they could've jumped you!

Jewels said...

You weave a lovely story. The first girl seems to have tackled the gift of tact at a very young age.

esbboston said...

Jewels: I am veRy faR fRom skinny, too!

Julie: I love little people very much, especially in the 4-5 year range, we connect. Perhaps its genetic, my mother was a wonderful kindergarten teacher for most of her career. She brought us home a lot of stories from her school days, I wish she would have wrote a book.

Anonymous said...


I rsead your blog, and enjoy the take on the world. I know you are one of these Math types while I am not so i thought you might understand this particular problem....

On 20 November 1990, Andrei Chikatilo was arrested in Rostov, a Russian state bordering the Ukraine. After nine days in custody, Chikatilo confessed to the murder of 36 girls, boys and women over a 12 year period. He later confessed to a further 20 murders, making him one of the most prolific serial killers in modern history.

Today, Mikhail Simkin and Vwani Roychowdhury at the University of California, Los Angeles, release a mathematical analysis of Chikatilo's pattern of behaviour. They say the behaviour is well characterised by a power law and that this is exactly what would be expected if Chikatilo's behaviour is caused by a certain pattern of neuronal firing in the brain.

Their thinking is based on the fundamental behaviour of neurons. When a neuron fires, it cannot fire again until it has recharged, a time known as the refractory period.

Each neuron is connected to thousands of others. Some of these will also be ready to fire and so can be triggered by the first neuron. These in turn will be connected to more neurons and so on. So it's easy to see how a chain reaction of firings can sweep through the brain if conditions are ripe.

But this by itself cannot explain a serial killer's behaviour. "We cannot expect that the killer commits murder right at the moment when neural excitation reaches a certain threshold. He needs time to plan and prepare his crime," say Simkin and Roychowdhury.

Instead, they suggest that a serial killer only commits murder after the threshold has been exceeded for a certain period of time.

They also assume that the murder has a sedative effect on the killer, causing the neuronal activity to drop below the threshold.

Simkin and Roychowdhury used their model to simulate the pattern of firing in a brain to see how often it surpasses a given threshold long enough for a murder to take place.

In the model, they used a 2 millisecond period as the fundamental time step, that's about the time between firings in a real neuron. And they simulated some 100 billion time steps, equivalent to 12 years or so, that's about the period that Chikatilo was active.

The results are remarkably similar to the distribution of Chikatilo's real murders and Simkin and Roychowdhury speculate that it would be relatively straightforward to introduce a realistic correction factor that would make the fit closer.

They say: "One could enhance the model by introducing a murder success rate. That is with certain probability everything goes well for the killer and he is able to commit the murder as he planned. If not, he repeats his attempt the next day. And so on."

This model leads to an interesting insight into the nature of serial killing. It suggests that the likelihood of another killing is much higher soon after a murder than it is after a long period has passed.

That's a well known property of power law distributions that holds true for all kinds of phenomenon. A large earthquake, for example, is more likely soon after another large earthquake.

Interestingly, Simkin and Roychowdhury's work bares much similarity to other recent work suggesting that the distribution of epileptic fits also follows a power law. The reasoning here is the same too--that patterns of neuronal firing can spread through the brain, like an avalanche, causing a fit in the process.

esbboston said...

Garry: Thank you for the long lesson in neurons. I find brain studies interesting.

I feel that I am the opposite of a serial killer, what ever that means eXactly, only my neurons reaLLy "know. I get great enjoyment in life being an entertainer and I eXpress this through writing my silly content blog. My life has not always been so happy, but I feel that I have forgiven the person who has harmed me the most in life and that person is dead so I can longer talk to that person, but I miss that person very much and think about that person every day. As a young adult I decided that I would be a good person, that I did not want to be known as a thief or a liar. I have had a wonderful marriage to someone that I think still loves me even after a few decades of being together. I think life is a very precious thing and to indiscriminately take it away from another human being in a game of serial killing is the worst act a human being can ever do.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Life can be a real son of a gun. I sort of decided the same thing because my dad was not only cruel but stayed cruel until the day he died. He kicked me out of the house when i was 15 because i intervened once when he was beating my mom. what is worse, my dad did not drink. this was always cold blooded. he shot at me then with his .303 and he would joke about my reaction to his friends at how cowardly i was dodging the bullet so to speak that fortunately was fired well over my head. when that did not work, he tried to run me over with his truck to make sure i left his property. well i did, became a cop then a lawyer and i think, instead of pride, he had anger against me. never figured the monster out. I though, since i spent a lot of my life doing things and trying to be successful that he might be proud one day or perhaps even love me but it never happened. Perverse how i shamefully felt. I did not go to his funeral so now my family has cut me off. But i succeeded when everyone else failed and now i have a peaceful and happy life.

ps. i found your site by plumbing mia s friends. i though she might have an intellectual list.

esbboston said...

Garry: I am glad you found peace and a better life. I did attend the funeral of my father. As a writing assignment for doing a variety of style and subject matter, I decided I would write a eulogy and I picked my father. He was away on a journey for medical help at that time and I was looking forward to seeing him at my son's wedding in a couple weeks from the point tht I started the eulogy. I combined some elements of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address into his eulogy, and I never told anyone that I was working on it. He died two day after my son's wedding and I spoke at his funeral. It was the first time that I ever spoke at a funeral that I can remember. I never dreamed that I could have done such a thing, but after I watched my mother speak at her sister-in-law's funeral, I realized that I could probably do the same. I promised my mother that I would not write her eulogy without her knowing about it if she was still alive. She laughed and told me that if she felt she had about two weeks to go, she would tell me so I could start writing.

I find that Mia is an interesting very open writer, even if her publishing volume is low, but I think it is because she is a very busy person.

Julie Hutchinson said...

esbboston, that's incredibly moving - about the eulogy for your father. Thanks for sharing it.

Anonymous said...

knowing kids, they will start throwing stones at you next.

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