Dream of the Dragon

Category: Inspiration

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.

Rain nothing to Hulk.

by Justin

Welcome to dreamland. It’s all about that aged sign in the bottom corner, Banner.

On an unrelated note (really, truly unrelated), my barber warned me about ever taking a boat out past the edge of Long Island to the area surrounding Plum Island. You know, in case I had plans to investigate nightmares.

Goblin Rock: An Evening with Dio

by Justin

Follow me down, down to Goblin Town, where a prince among men made music.

I fell for Ronnie James Dio’s vocals, in a shallow way, the first time I heard “Rainbow in the Dark.” My sister, actually, lifted the curtain on it back in 2008. That track, from the 1982 Dio (the band) album Holy Diver, marries cheesy keyboard, nasty guitar, and demon vocals. It’s a wonder of a song. I defy you to listen to it and not be charmed. Lyrics, performance, goblin-dancing, it’s got it all. When there’s lightning, you know it always brings me down.

After that, Dio and I had a casual relationship. I’d nod appreciatively when our paths crossed, but I never really investigated this vocal behemoth. I’m a nerd about amazing male vocalists, from Robert Plant to Freddie Mercury to Layne Staley. I’ll listen to live recordings just to marvel at the sound those superhumans could make – beyond the amazing music, I’d get down on the sheer virtuosity of the vocals. And make no mistake: Dio’s voice shines as brilliantly as any in history. The real revelation was that he sang as easily as an angel as a demon. Also, the dude really loved rainbows. Read the rest of this entry »