navy trooper sketch


I'm realizing something about myself. I'm both sensitive and intense. Sensitive in the sense that the world's sounds, sights, and feelings impact me strongly. My internal equilibrium is disturbed easily by sensory inputs, perhaps because my nervous system is especially sensitive to any changes in my external environment.

At the same time, I'm intense in the sense that I approach the world in a forceful way. I want to explore, to understand, to experience. I dive into interests a l'outrance, travel to other countries to learn, and resonate with Drum and Bass music.

This confused me for a long time. I didn't understand how sensitive reception to the outward world could go hand-in-hand with this level of force reaching outward. It's something that I'm still growing to understand about myself.

Divine Comedy

I've been taking advantage of my extra time at home during the pandemic to read. I started with a classic - Dante's Divine Comedy. I had never read it before, but Dad had a copy in his office that I've borrowed the past two months. Thanks, Dad!

Divine Comedy is a 14th century Italian poem that tells about the story of one man, Dante. He begins the story lost in a dark wood, astray in his life and confused. Divine intervention arrives and two guides lead Dante on an epic journey through Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise. Along the way, he meets many people and learns about their experiences in life. He is also confronted with his own heart. Step by step, he makes his way toward God and clearer understanding of himself, the world, and God's divinity.

I really enjoyed it. It's beautifully written and filled with incredible depictions, meaning, and inspiration for pondering. As I read, I kept a notebook and jotted down some of my favorite lines and passages.


Divine Comedy and my notebook


I started with Milton and Dante, first reading some of Milton's translations of the Psalms and then diving into Dante.


Selected pages of my notebook:


Peer over

Finding my writing style

It's like sensing an approaching wind. You feel it, ready your wings, and catch the current. And so you sail, watching the world pass below like a wandering stream. It's from this vantage that my soul observes, experiences, and seeks to put to expression.

It's like a weasel who catches the scent. The focused attention, the keen eye, and the unconscious draw of the scent. It's the pursuit that sets her white feet aflame, sends her racing through narrow passages and hidden places.

This is the kind of writing that I enjoy. It's a plot-less story, a moment in time that becomes an exploration. It's a place between experience and expression, description and depiction.

Exodus Calendar Notes


1 Nissan - first month - see Exodus 12:2
15 Nissan - Passover and Exodus - see Exodus 12-13

       ...50 days from 15 Nissan to 6 Sivan...
       (Counting of the Omer - Leviticus 23:15-17)


       (travel to Mount Sinai)


1 Sivan - Israel arrives at Mount Sinai - see Exodus 19
6 Sivan - God appears at Mount Sinai and gives the Torah (Shavuot) - see Exodus 20

       ...40 days from 6 Sivan to 16 Tammuz...
       (see Exodus 24:18)


       (Golden calf destroyed, see Exodus 32)


       (Moses prepares new tablets, see Exodus 34:1-9)


1 Elul - Moses ascends Mount Sinai - see Exodus 34

       ...40 days from 1 Elul to 10 Tishrei...
       (see Exodus 34:28)


1 Tishrei - Rosh HaShanah - see Leviticus 23:23-25
10 Tishrei - Yom Kippur - see Leviticus 16 and Leviticus 23:26-32
15 Tishrei - Sukkot - see Leviticus 23:33-43

Remaining months of the year: Cheshvan, Kislev, Tevet, Shevat, Adar
harbor seal

Sense of Touch

This article on Scholarpedia is a really neat overview of different types of touch receptors in living organisms. Did you know that the antenna of crustaceans, seal whiskers, the lateral line in sharks, and the mole's nose are some ways that animals sense touch? Also, animals use their sense of touch to pick up tactile, vibrational, electric, magnetic, and other types of sensations. Wow!

"The World of Touch", Tony J. Prescott and Volker Dürr (2015), Scholarpedia, 10(4):32688.

Sense of Touch and ASD Research

People with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are often more or less sensitive to sensory stimuli than the general population. This can include the sense of touch. In my case, I am hypersensitive to touch.

I was curious if a certain mechanoreceptor in the skin may be involved in this sensitivity. And indeed, there has been some research done on this question. From what I've seen, researchers are linking hyper/hypo-sensitivity to touch in ASD to the Lamellar corpuscles. These are the mechanoreceptors that detect vibrations in the 250 Hz range.

Here are the sources that I found which discuss it. Collapse )
A Balance

Sense of Touch - Our Skin's Mechanoreceptors

I've been reading about the human sense of touch and the receptors in our skin that detect touch, vibration, and pressure. There are actually four types of mechanoreceptors in human skin. Here's a summary of them with some quotes from Wikipedia:

Lamellar corpuscles (Pacinian corpuscles) - vibration

These are capsule-like structures that are composed of layers. The layers are "separated by gelatinous material" and so these structures are mostly water. There is a nerve running in a line down the center. From what I understand, vibrations cause the layers to compress and this causes a signal to be transmitted to the nervous system. They detect varying vibrations rather than steady vibrations. "Their optimal sensitivity is 250 Hz" and they "have a large receptive field on the skin's surface with an especially sensitive center."

Tactile corpuscles (Meissner's corpuscles) - light touch

Like Lamellar corpuscles, these are capsule-like structures. However, in Tactile corpuscles, there are horizonal layers of cells and the nerve endings wind among them. In Lamellar corpuscles, the layers are in arc-shapes, like an onion, and the nerve runs in a straight line.

Tactile corpuscles sense touch and are located in the outer region of the dermis. "They have their highest sensitivity...when sensing vibrations between 10 and 50 Hz."

Bulbous corpuscles (Ruffini corpuscle) - stretch

These are disc-shaped capsules containing a branching structure of nerve endings. It doesn't seem to have layers the way that Lamellar or Tactile corpuscles do. They detect the stretching of the skin and help facilitate "kinesthetic sense of and control of finger position and movement."

Merkel nerve endings - pressure

These are nerve endings, rather than corpuscles. They "provide information on mechanical pressure, position, and deep static touch features, such as shapes and edges... Merkel nerve endings are the most sensitive of the four main types of mechanoreceptors to vibrations at low frequencies, around 5 to 15 Hz."

There's also an article on Pallesthesia, which is the ability to detect vibration through our skin. It's a concept used to identify conditions where this sense is reduced or not functioning properly.
A Balance

The value of things

I tend to be possessive/protective of my things. They are important to me.

Littlest Pet Shops, stuffed animals, books, pens, hats, stones, cards, clay figurines, oils, tea supplies, animal figurines, artifact jewelry (Fate of Atlantis, Star Wars, etc), Alaska necklace, seal fur headband, feathers, trinkets, Sniper Wolf, R2-D2, tea mugs, hoodies, slippers, rings, ephemera, tickets, package seals, glass, beads, pins, badges, art supplies, legos, manga sets, video game guides, solar glasses ...

It really irks me when writers or directors tell a story where "things" exist only to serve as a reflection of their love for another person or some other meaning. It's as if the object itself has no value. What? Are these items merely symbols with no essence of their own? They can serve as symbols sometimes, but I believe that they have a qualitative essence of their own. I treasure them for that in addition to the nostalgia associated with them. But I don't have to "change" them, assign messages, or over-impress myself upon the items in order for them to be valuable. They are beautiful in and of themselves. This is their intrinsic value.

Can't we allow them to be what they are?

NC Memorial


I noticed a theme in some of my posts and wanted to note them.

9/18/2017 - "the idea of passing through the world and encountering these things, bumping into them like geometric shapes on a mathematical plane - that's how life can feel to me oftentimes. Even if the people and things are not physically touching me, I still feel jostled, pushed, and squashed by them in a very real way. In that way, my anxiety isn't just a made up feeling - it's a tangible experience from the sessuru of actual things in my life. Not so much from fearing possibilities, but from the actual encounters that they have with me, when their borders brush up against mine. I'm glad to have a word that expresses that experience, even if it is a word in another language."

2/10/2016 - "just trying to keep the world from smashing, crashing in

That's what it feels like. It's like the world is a constant pressure, often overwhelming with unpleasantness (noise, random ugly things, stress, pain, etc). I just want to bury my head in the sand and make it all go away. So I do a 180 and paint other pictures. Amass other things. Craft my own beautiful little space, even if it's only in my mind.

3/23/2015 - "Of all the Star Trek characters I've met so far, the one to whom I feel that I can relate most is Miranda Jones. She was born a telepath and is buffeted by the thoughts and emotions of others. She is also jealous and jealousy loyal.

I'm by no means a telepath, but when I'm in the presence of others, I can feel like I'm being surrounded by their emotions. It's as if they all leap upon me and wash through me and crush against me. Whoever I am is so dim that it's hardly even audible anymore. Sometimes I feel like my mind is trying to run away, trying to relocate itself; but it has nowhere to go to escape the onslaught, so it starts to spin in a panic within itself. Usually, it just gives up and endures the foreign atmosphere until it has the space to seek itself again. On the outside, I wonder what's wrong. Nothing is happening to me. Maybe no one is even speaking to me or engaging my presence. But the space is not my own and I've been overrun by the presences of others. It happens so naturally that I can hardly recognize it."