Archives For brains

Random Brain Droppings promises to be a semi irregular series here on the blog. Mostly when my mind gets all discombobulated with disparate thoughts.

For instance, have you ever spent time doing research on WebMD? I know I have (and really I know you have, too. It’s okay, fess up–this is a safe place).

Have you heard of Naegleria Fowleri? I hadn’t until several years ago when I watched an episode of the X-Files. Which featured a “brain eating amoeba” as the creature of the week.

Which I know, thanks to WebMD, is N.fowleri. It’s an amoeba that lives in the silt found in warm water–whether lakes, rivers, or pools. If the water is dirty enough, or not properly treated, N.fowleri can be present.

Here’s the thing: I’m a sleep apnea sufferer. As such, I use a C-PAP device. It keeps my airway open while I sleep. It also causes, due to the nightly blowing of air, a recurrent sore in my left nostril.

Which on occasion almost daily bleeds. If it’s a choice between dying young of one of a host of complications caused by apnea, I’ll take “Bloody nose” for $100, Alex. It’s a small price to pay for continued life.

Because of this sore, and because I live on the Internet, I’m careful when I swim now. I plug my nose when I do cannon balls, y’all!

But not when I dive. Because I figure I’m swooshing into the water, and there’s less chance of it being forced up my nose.

What did I do on Memorial Day? I did cannon balls, I dove, I had fun with my kids.

What did I do on my last dive? I closed my eyes underwater as I serenely glided towards the shallow end.

You know where this is going.

I made full facial contact with the upward slope separating the deep from the shallow end. Blood streamed from both nostrils. And other than being, I don’t know, happy to be alive, happy to not have a broken neck. Happy to only have pool rash on my nose, what did I think about?

What thought consumed me?

Naeglaleria fowleri.

I was sure, due to the fact that it’s suitably warm here in Arizona, that mom’s pool wasn’t the cleanest is ever been, the ratio of blood to water contact, that I was going to contract N.fowleri, and those nasty little vermin were going to start munching on my grey matter.

Not withstanding that I, you know, hit my face, the fact that I had a headache afterwards only served as confirmation: I was going to die.

It was just a matter of a little time. My wife and kids were going to witness my rapid decline into coma and death.

And there was nothing anyone could do

Truth be told, my pool accident, coupled with Internet over research, fed into one of my greatest fears:

Losing my mind.

Because, you see, it may not be a great one, but it is amongst one of the few things I’ve got. I’m not musically inclined, not exceptionally coordinated.. . But I can string a sentence, or two, together from time to time.

And the thought of losing my mind freaks me right the heck out. I imagine it would you, too.

What’s something you’re afraid of? Go ahead and share. This is a safe place.


Inspired by my blogging buddy Tor Constantino’s own conversation with Cleverbot, I thought I would try my (virtual) hand at one. What follows is the (virtually) unedited transcript (I made typos, ok? I fixed them). Enjoy!


User: Cleverbot, how stupid are you?

Cleverbot: I am not stupid.

User: How many brains do you have?

Cleverbot: Just the one.

User: Do you eat them like zombies?

Cleverbot: The color green? No, I don’t eat it. What’s your birthday?

User: Who said anything about the color green? Are you perhaps referring to the pallor of zombie skin?

Cleverbot: I think so.

User: You do? But are you sure? Do you watch the Walking Dead on TV?

Cleverbot: Yes.

User: Hmm. I think you’re lying. Are you lying, cleverbot? A real cleverbot wouldn’t lie.

Cleverbot: You have reason…

User: Why, yes–yes, I do. I’m a sentient member of the species homo sapiens sapiens. What genus are you, genius?

Cleverbot: Your point being?

User: That you are an idiot.

Cleverbot: Very interesting.

User: I thought so. But you are full of hot air, am I right?

Cleverbot: I am what?

Use: Full of hot air, dummy!

Cleverbot: No it’s an airline.

User: What is? What’s an airline? Are you? I don’t think I’ll ever fly again.

Cleverbot: You misunderstood, does the girl Lois Schulz have feelings for me?

User: I misunderstood? I don’t think so, uncleverbot. I don’t even know who Lois Schultz is. Do you?

Cleverbot: No, I’m sorry. You are also very random…

User: Why thank you. They call me ‘RandomlyChad.’ But, truly, I’m just trying to keep up with your egregious, random non-sequiturs.

Cleverbot: I guess you have a point there.

User: You think?

Cleverbot: Yes. I’m capable of thought.

User: I’m not so sure…

Cleverbot: Yes you are.

User: No, not really.

Cleverbot: Have a seat.

User: I am seated, numbskull.

Cleverbot: I want you to be Cleverbot.

User: And I want you to actually possess the merest smidgen of intelligence, but the Rolling Stones said ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want.’ Is that true?

Cleverbot: Actually, no. I’ve never had anyone threaten to close a tab to stop talking to me.

User: Well, allow me to be the first, you big, dumb server farm.

Cleverbot: How?


Have you ever “conversed” with Cleverbot? Share it the comments!