Dream of the Dragon

Month: January, 2012

The gas light is on.

by Justin

Nicole and I, perhaps drunk on my employment, decided that the time was ripe to purchase a television. We, children of second-hand internet sales, found a juicy deal on Craigslist and set about bringing an unnecessary, high-tech, too-flat glowing box into our (temporary) home.

We would leave this evening, drive a short distance, and return victorious. I called Nicole when I left the office to let her know I was headed home. Four minutes later I walked in the door and discovered that she was hysterical and terrified. Why? Icarus had wrenched himself and his leash free from her hand upon seeing some secret animal off in the woods. He then charged out into the road, which happened to be busy because the daycare across the street was unloading its wards over to their parents.

Nicole, one can imagine, immediately embraced the worst possible scenario and flew into a panic of the-dog-is-gone-and-dear-god-how-will-I-tell-Justin. She got Icarus back as soon as he lost sight of his quarry, came home, and broke down. Those four minutes must have been a sight to behold. But she recovered from the trauma, and Icarus remained as oblivious as ever.

Shortly thereafter, Read the rest of this entry »

Private eyes.

by Justin

Painted into the side of an outdoor grill by oxidation and the elements:

I can’t be the only one who sees it.

This afternoon three tiny birds panicked their way out from beneath my apartment, transforming into sharp black dots flitting over the fields of snow. Evidently the building, built as a barracks sometime around 1941, isn’t keeping itself sealed up against the local wildlife.

The summit of Bragg Peak.

by Justin

A particle physicist, when asked by me to explain the genesis of a particular innovation in radiation therapy, decided it was best to start at the beginning. In this instance, said beginning took place on a very busy chalkboard, filled with inscrutable equations and half-erased diagrams. Layer upon layer competed for attention. With a full and slightly unkempt head of gray hair, the man sketched a basic line graph, illustrating depth v. dose level.

The point isn’t this venerable man of science’s patience or enthusiasm, it was his immediate instinct to provide a visual and go to the board. Back in school already.

He walked me through a Bragg peak, the extraordinary phenomenon that renders proton therapy (as one example) so vastly superior to x-ray therapy. This is the basic drawing, though lacking the charm of a chalkboard where each inch of real estate is won by haphazardly erasing with the palm of one’s hand.