Interesting ideas interspersed with nonsense - RSS - by nikhil bhatla, -
Home Archives August 2007

« Survival School: Day 18 - Survival School: Day 20 »
Survival School: Day 19
Aug 2, 2007, 8:03p - Life

Day 3 of SOLO

Rainy in the morning, overcast, no direct sun. Yesterday I saw a deer near my camp, we just stared @ each other. Also, 2 or 3 ground chipmunks & a flying squirrel live near my home. Also, Abe stumbled into my camp yesterday - I had to shoe him away. Boundaries are difficult to see when all you have is 2 cairns by the river. [We each got a chunk of non-overlapping land by the river, but the only way to tell that you're in your own territory is by 2 cairns (rocks piled precariously on top of each other) that are by the river, which mark your top and bottom boundaries - so if you can't see the river, you have to estimate, which is hard.] So overcast, rainy, & cold that I just sat on the dry bed of needles under my burrito.

Today I had a serious oral fixation - I had to have something in my mouth @ all times, and I mean @ all times. I prepared breakfast - chopped onions, carrots, garlic, dehydrated lentils, & couscous & vegetable bullion. Added pinole too, but since I again couldn't start a fire & get it to boil, it had no effect except adding a mild corn flavor. Tried to get a fire going, but broke a chunk of wood off from my hole, so needed to burn in a new one. But now my top bone just smokes instead of the board - Tried to lube it up w/ nose & hair grease, but no good. Made a new top rock, but it's too soft & just gets shredded when there's a lot of friction. After a couple hours of trying to make a fire, gave up & ate my food raw. This no fire thing is seriously putting me on a raw food diet.

Mmm, breakfast - I actually like the raw onions (due to my inability to make fire), as it's a more potent flavor

Self-portrait on day 19, after 1.5 days of (virtually) no human contact

View from my home, looking to the right from bed

View from my home, looking straight ahead from bed

View from my home, looking to the left from bed

I stacked a bunch of branches to provide shelter from the wind @ night - seemed to work pretty well

The coat & sock rack above my bed

Nearly all of my prized possessions: (left to right) pile of clothes, bag of food, bag of tinder, nalgene, knife, bandana, fireset bow, bottle of soap, bottle of aerobic oxygen, bottle of ethanol, ethanol can, gourd, & 2nd nalgene

Went to the river to refill my 2 Nalgenes & set up the upstream cairn. Still wet & rainy. Read Becca's letter & poem again - made my cry, couldn't read them out loud w/o cracking. Read some TB, but talking about animal traps which I don't find too interesting, so didn't read too much. Laid down to relax & nap. Woke up & the sun was blazing down a few yards away, so moved there - very nice & toasty. Must have something in mouth or I'll go crazy - squash seeds, squash jerky, & lamb jerky. When I napped in the sun, I kept a piece of lamb fat in my mouth so I had something to chew on. Then, I had the idea to lubricate my ankle bone w/ the fat, so I started accumulating it in the ankle bone. We'll see if it makes a difference - @ this point the most efficient & productive thing would be to get some help before continuing w/ fire-making. One of these days I'll figure it out - it's like juggling, one day it will just click into place in my brain.

I don't know what's up w/ this oral fixation - I seriously cannot go more than a few minutes w/o something in my mouth. I think what it is is that it helps the time pass, cause I seriously have nothing else to do. W/ the sun blazing, I made my oatmeal dinner & left the cup in the sun, hoping it would heat it up. I got it lukewarm, better than cold. Sun disappeared behind clouds, started to drizzle, I downed the cairn rocks, refilled water, & prepped for bed. Still really early, probably only 3pm, but so dark, dreary, & wet. Ate oatmeal - delicious :)

My stuff: (left to right) plastic bag with T-shirt, sandpaper block (for sharpening my knife), bottle of soap, nylon cord, knife, plastic bag of tinder, Tom Brown book, bottle of aerobic oxygen, bag of extra clothes, bottle of ethanol, ethanol can, oatmeal soaking in blue enamel cup, cow ankle bone (used as top rock in fireset), fireset bow, gourd, 2 nalgenes, bag of food, & versacloth

Mmm, dinner of lukewarm oats (I carved the spoon ~2 weeks before)

Still surviving basically from meal to meal - can't help it :( Difficult to help it. Sat on burrito - heard hoots, hooted back, it's Cliff looking for Ben cause he didn't update his cairn. Ate pinole - damn is it strangely addictive. Ate so much I got some blisters in my mouth. First tried it as a "coffee" drink - really lame, didn't dissolve, just settled to the bottom. Need to boil water for it to dissolve, I bet. Next, just wet a finger & stuck it in the bag - yum. Did this for what seemed like several hours, cause jerky was all gone.

Bag of pinole (ground corn & barley) - so damn addictive

Wet finger going in

Heard a roar by the river, followed by a squeal a few minutes later, & a snort a few minutes after that. Then heard a growl a little upstream, followed a few minutes later by one downstream - sounded like a bear, but no way in hell was I going to investigate. A bear encounter is on my agenda of things not to do. Sun back out, still so many hours of light left - fooled by the clouds into having an early dinner. Can hear the squeak of fire-making coming from downstream, followed by a couple yells of frustration by Abe - he's also having difficulty w/ his fire. Just goes to show that even fire isn't a basic need, but a comfort & a luxury. Finally stopped w/ the pinole (like how hard it is to stop eating salted chips), had a couple handfuls of GORP, & just lay there looking @ the tree above me. In the moment - here is this giant tree, what am I doing underneath it? What am I getting out of this isolation experience, other than patience? Am I learning anything about myself? Maybe I should fast for one of these days, as eating is my only desire & I should purge myself of all desires? I'll have to think about that - I think I'll fast on day 5, eat those rations on day 4. It's one thing to fast w/o food, it's something altogether different when you know it's there just waiting to be eaten. Hmm, I'll have to think about it...

Went to sleep early, sky still bright. Rolled over on stomach, which seemed to really confound the burrito layout. Fitful sleep - had to pee 2x, hands keep falling asleep, warm but pretty immobile. Woke up & really had to take a shit, been farting all night. Dark except for the moon, so ran 20 yards away, & crouched in the moonlight, dropping my pants & hoping I didn't shit myself. Seemed a bit like diarrhea, probably due to all the raw onions I've been eating. But man it felt good to get it out. Wiped w/ some sticks, hoped it dried itself, then back to bed - didn't even dig a trench, didn't want to get shit on my toes since I really couldn't see anything (shit #6). Will inspect in the morning. Lots of short dreams - Veronica Mars-ish, I'm an investigator in high school. I get scammed a couple times. Mom paints the outside of our house lime green! Stupid Mars' song stuck in my head - funny how there's like a song of the day, every day, out here. Michael Goodman's house, big accident, drop by. That's all I remember.

[An interlude of random ideas & dreams I wrote down]

Ideas for experiments
1) Constant stimulus, varied perception
   a) Priming (permanent) - Animal (e.g. cow) silhouette
      i) Observe neuron that responds to priming
      ii) Erase priming @ neuronal level _. return to naive artist's state, so you can see what you audience will see! <- more complex <- memory function <- involuntary memory
   b) Eye-dependent variance in color perception
      -> e.g. left eye sees slightly different colors than right eye
      i) Issue of input -> lighting, angle, reflectance?
      ii) Issue of eye itself -> rod, cone distribution?
      iii) Issue of color-perceiving neurons
           -> compare neurons between each hemisphere, given appropriate input
      O Research neuronal color blindness

2) Perceptual Filter
   -> Why some input is perceived as vision, others as sound, others as taste, others as touch, others as smell, others as ???
   Hypo: Synesthetes have a flaky perceptual filter
   O Research synesthesia, read all papers & books
   O Acquire & use device for seeing w/ the tongue
   O Go deep into signal processing (EE)
   How do blind musicians describe their music?
   Do blind people perceive vision through sound?
   Where in the brain is this filter occurring, and based on what criteria? Is the criteria learned? If so, how? Are there ways of perceiving that we haven't yet tapped? That could be tapped given the right input?
   Input mechanism/location (eyes, ears, nose, mouth, skin) likely biases the perceptual interpretation?

3) Misc
   i) If you can't generate speech, can you hear your own thoughts?
      -> Can you read someone's mind by monitoring Wernicke's motor planning neurons, & mapping them to known neuronal fingerprints to word mappings?
   ii) What does a memory look like?

[Now some dreams I wrote in the middle of the night, after waking from them. I often can't read my own writing, hence the dashes: ----]

1) High school, Jacob Diamond, 2 girls after affection, eye shadow girl, hair girl, yearbook pages, girl smoking, Becca coming back from overseas in 2 days, lollipop down there, Chron is porn

2) Library book, Jessica returns one w/ a note/review on the front cover, Dostoevsky, 2 borrowed, look @ library bill, $20 + $20 for long rental, talk to customer service, wait in line, called into dark hallway, called into room, person sitting in shelf in closet, no legs, no arms, scribe had copied bill, nothing can be done, $601 fine otherwise, so overdue, many bills, had to keep track of my own

4) Crazy Shell station, dad has new car, like Bug but sporty, see prowler PT behind us, keeps honking, tire flat fills like balloon, very sophisticated starter, octanes 87, 89, 92, 93, 97 (jet fuel, $1500 per gal), no 91 - car analyzed, 920K, scam, $2.91/gal, motorcycle fits into pump, dad likes them because they did good job on AC fix, prowler crossed island & just went 1 street down, sell NASCAR & camo gear @ Shell - gas station of the future, pumps print out detailed reports, race getting on to freeway.

5) FBI/CIA murders recorded on video, agent holes himself up & kills several agents in office, before being shot. Mystery, motive unknown, b&w, recreation - next door to preschool, I'm a teacher, Gabe Tigerman raves me to class, other teacher is black man (Obama), trade cupcakes between 2 groups, get kid (girl) to eat w/o lip problem - even handles bleeding lip. On ocean show can see giant platypus in clear water, looking like "Lightyear Buzz", name is "Infinity & Beyond", waves, we wave back, throws poisonous mushroom @ class, I throw it back, like a grenade, about to go off, platypus upset, ---- comes in (hands tender), uses super powers to neutralize the mushroom, all out, hypnotizes another teacher who may not be able to ---- truth, she fakes hypnotism, wet & ----, back to FBI reaction, bullets fly, motives ---- (electronic theft), home world, back home, board games w/ Tin, Up & Down, mini Monopoly, Carom w/ Kanika.

A couple other dreams I remember remembering I've now forgotten.

Oh yeah... (remembered next day while peeing - bushing - dentist - referral - 1and1 - dream!)

3) @ Google again, working, Larry thinking of acquiring, seat across from Marissa, next to Debbie Jaffe, fridge under desk, liquid in bottle, better w/ something else, else leaves residue while cleaning, Yanda's walking down city street, something about the right time for crepes?, goes next door, quiet & secretive, pounds on door to get in, is it a new startup?, comes out, sees me, let's me in, a whole new world, mirrors line warehouse wall, looks like it goes on forever, Yanda's brother, a manic artist, has recreated a war battleground, w/ lighting, paint, plants, equipment (just no people) - so unbelievably real, genius, Yanda's sister also excited, Yanda & I scared his bro is losing his mind, I'm wondering when then they're going to open it to the public, seems like they won't, it will be private...

[end interlude]

[written on days 19 & 20]

Read comments (2) - Comment

vo2beast - Jan 22, 2010, 12:48p
what is this-i mean where, what organization?

nikhil - Jan 27, 2010, 5:47a
This survival school was in southern Utah, with a company called Boulder Outdoor Survival School.

You can read my survival school journal from the beginning here:

« Survival School: Day 18 - Survival School: Day 20 »

Come back soon! Better yet, stay up-to-date with RSS and an RSS Reader. Creative Commons License