Thursday, May 29, 2008

Morning Musings and Mailbox Moments

In which Douglas contemplates natures and somehow segues into cleaning out his mailbox and wondering how spammers find him.

I needed this today I found a bit of paradise in the city two days ago. I've lived in this apartment for six years and never once realized how very close I was to the Jordan River Parkway - a scenic bike trail that meanders along the Jordan River across the Salt Lake Valley heading south to join up with the Provo River 25 or more miles away. I feel pretty stupid about it, to be honest.

I was up before dawn and on a whim I decided to go hunting around in the dark for that Parkway I kept hearing about for years. You know, because looking for bike trails is what everybody does at 4am. Well, they do if they have ADHD. At any rate, off I went prepared to drive around warming the Earth in a pointless scavenger hunt. Less then five minutes later I had found my Parkway. I didn't feel stupid yet because there was nothing to see. There was a path that led off in both directions into the night. There was a sign that let me know I was where I thought I was, and there was the parking lot lit by two erratic street lamps. I sat in the dark and played my chromatic harmonica and pennywhistle for about an hour on a park bench by the river. I even pulled out my clarinet and tooted away as loud as I pleased. (Have I mentioned before that I have ADHD? It may have come up in conversation before. These are pretty defining moments, aren't they? OK, nevermind.)

As dawn began to rise I began to see how wonderful the surrounding wetlands were as they stretched out along the river bank. I strapped on my rollerblades and set off towards the south. Within sight of the interstate highway I encountered ducks, quail, a piper, starlings, orioles, black birds, flowers, actual trees, cacti, and an enormous pelican. For a moment — only the merest blip of a moment — I thought I had come across a thunderbird, but alas it was just a pelican. I found that funny because on the one hand I actually wondered if the bird was a cryptozoological Indian myth and on the other I actually thought "Oh, it's just a pelican" as if I come across them every day.

When I wrote of thunderbirds, I am sure some of my readers wondered why I thought I saw an open source email application in my morning sky. They may even have wondered how high up in the mountains I was and if I was getting enough oxygen. I sometimes wonder the same thing about the people that email me. Still being in good spirits because of that bit of Heaven on Earth I had discovered, I read tonight's email with a great deal of mirth.

As a blog author I am often contacted by people who mistakenly believe I am important or financially successful or both. Blogs are big money as everybody "knows". I don't see any of that money, but that doesn't stop the email pitches from making their way into my inbox. I had a new experience, however, when I read this personally targeted email:

I was reading your blog and I see you have a very impressive way of describing things. The information you provide is very helpful. So I was wondering if you could take a look at our product pinhole glasses and write a review about and post it in your blog

I would really be interested to know if you would be able to post the review in your blog with links to our site.

This would be high praise indeed and worthy of said review except for a few small details. Firstly, my blog isn't about optometry, so my readers would wonder why I was pitching vision solutions to them. Secondly, I was asked to review the product by simply looking at it's webpage. I would indeed need quite an impressive way of describing things in order to recommend a product I had not used.

I've also ended up on a British mailing list that decries the corruption of the psychiatric industry. I suppose they read a rant or two of mine on the subject and thought I was a kindred spirit, but I didn't request to be on the mailing list and their layout is really starting to bug me.


I imagine the hyperbole in capital letters gives the impression of excess spittle, but that might just be me. I do agree with them that abuses in the psychiatric industry must be addressed and corrected, but I feel their railing accusations aren't going to get anybody outside of the fringe to pay heed to them. I also find their hit pieces on well known psychiatrists such as Peter Breggin filled with too much anecdotal commentary and exclamation points, but not enough hard core evidence.

As I prepare my final thoughts about this month's experiment on identifying my ADHD obstacles (to be published on Friday), I thought I'd share with you some of the wild ideas bouncing around my head. I'm in good spirits, the comments you have left this month have been wonderful, and I look forward towards sharing my findings with you on the morrow.