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March 16, 2002
Um. Volleyball carnage returns. First


Volleyball carnage returns. First we got our asses kicked pretty well on Wednesday, swept for the first time in a month, then last night Luke reinjured his foot, probably ending his season. Shit. It really sucks because we all know how much volleyball emans to Luke, how much he enjoys it, and what an important part of our team(s) he is. True to form, though, he's staying as positive as possible.

Thrusday night went to see Terry Gross speak at The Town Hall. Very interesting to see a "show" like that, just someone talking about their life. I guess these things happen quite a lot, the "lecture circuit" and whatnot, but I've never paid much attention. The talk was at once inspiring and sort of depressing. It was inpsiring to hear of her simple story of finding work that she loves and that she's very good at. Inspiring because she faces and has faced all the same challenges that everyone else does, so it reinforced the idea that every life is as interesting, difficult and beautiful as any other. As I heard just a few minutes ago, "Each life is, at the very least, an act of bravery."

I was just watching a rerun of 60 Minutes and it very nearly made me cry. Not even in a normal, pull-at-your-heartstrings kind of way, but, well, let me explain. There was a story about a new treatment for Parkinson's Disease in which they described inserting electrodes into the center of the brain (they also showed this procedure, amazing), and two controlers, like pacemakers, are implanted into the chest. They had discovered long ago that stimulating particular regions in the center of the brain released the muscle tension that cripples Parkinsonians. They used to probe around to find the right area, and then remove it, noting that the probe made the patients better. Eventually someone came up with a way to provide continuous stimulation.

ANYWAY, the amazingly dramatic moment was a home video of a young guy with Parkinson's. He was in a field, trying to walk, and making very little progress. It took him 20 seconds or so to move each leg, and even then, it didn't look like he could control where it went. He slowly turned to face the camera and leaned over to pick up a magnet from the grass. He touched the magnet to either side of his chest to turn on the charge generators, put the magnet down, turned on his heel and strolled across the grass completely normally. I got a big chill down my spine and almost burst into tears. I'm often fearful of directions that technology and science take, but every once in a while I'm just really impressed.

I think what makes it really powerful is that people with Parkinson's have perfectly sound minds, but lost all control of their bodies, they become like terrible prisons, I imagine it's kind of like being buried alive. These people described brushing their own teeth and being able to be seen in public as miracles.

Which gets me to why Terry Gross was sort of depressing. The depressing part comes when I think of my own life and start to feel like I'm not doing enough. I try to be good and kind and add joy where I can, but I'm not exactly devoting my life to it. Lately I'm devoting my life to SSX Tricky. And then the doctor's who are breaking these patients out of their bodily prisons, I'm definitely not doing anything like that. So hence the down side. I always feel that the positive outweighs the negative in these situations, though. I learn more than I lose, I feel inspired more than I feel useless.

There was another example too, a series of films called 7 Up, 14 Up, 21 Up, 28 Up, 35 Up and 45 Up, but I'll talk about those another time. Or not.


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