Local Adventures, Part 2 – 8/2/18

All right, big announcement: As of today, I am now a full-time field reporter for NeuroAdventures. I had a great 2-year stint as a consultant (aka – barnacle) at an exciting company specializing in launching rockets into space for cheap, but all good things must one day come to an end. And that end was yesterday… I will say that my tenure there provided many neuroadventures of a different kind than the earth-based ones I will now spend time covering, and I feel humbled and honored to have been a small part of the team there. As a former vendor, I’m technically not supposed to mention them by name, but <<hint-hint>> they are one of the dozens or perhaps hundreds of multi-billion dollar private companies in L.A.’s South Bay that specialize in reusable rocket boosters to dramatically lower the cost of space travel, with the goal of one day colonizing Mars. And they currently contract with NASA, the U.S. military, and both private and government entities who wish to launch satellites into the atmosphere for less than half the cost of competors. ‘Nuff said!

While there, one of the biggest norepinephrine > dopamine hits* was being able to witness this particular incident, in real time, on a giant screen behind a glass-walled control room, with dozens of other space groupies cheering on the adventure. The after-party at a nearby watering hole was pretty faaaaking epic, as well.  Lots of tribal bonding and oxytocin* manufacturing going on that day:

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(Hopefully, the Gaussian blur of the company logos will keep you guessing as to the exact identity of said company…)

The incident below that occurred back in December 2017 was another surreal event I witnessed from Chez Boba (aka – my house) during one of my regular offsite workdays, and it had hundreds of people calling in to report an alien invasion of some kind:

Turns out, it was just a simple polar-orbit satellite launch out of Vandy that just happened to occur just after sunset on a clear evening… OR WAS IT ACTUALLY ALIENS??!!!???!!? The world may never know…

I will say it most likely activated my serotonin pathway pretty well, as sunsets normally do anyway, but with an extra kick that didn’t even require any little brown mushrooms to get there…**

But back to the present. That was then, this is now.

So what epic adventure did I embark upon during my first day as a full-time field reporter for NeuroAdventures? Ahhh, nothing too notable — yet. Today was pretty relaxed, trying to get a few things sorted out (like setting up this new computer that I’m now typing on with cutting-edge video editing software). But I also managed to take a couple of our kids out shopping:

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The little one on the left is Pepper, and the bigger one on the right is Twix. They’re both constant oxytocin-generators for our whole family and everyone else who comes into contact with them. We are lucky to have adopted a couple of the sweetest kids on the planet. Kids is sort of a misnomer, though, as Pepper, at age 12, is probably past his peak physical — and mental — fitness. Twix is also getting up in her years. She’s fifteen, which is 105 in dog years for those who don’t want to do the math. What an incredible twelve and fifteen years it has been! They both have provided countless hours of neurochemical happiness along the oxytocin and endorphin pathways for us, and we appreciate every day we still have with them. Life lesson: if you want a massive boost in your overall happiness, get a couple of pups as sweet as these ones:

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Here we are buying kitty litter for their feline cousin, descriptively named “Kitty.***”

Eventually, we made it back home from our outing, and the canine kids were still happy happy happy, but Kitty was visibly not impressed:

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Ride planning ensued in a flurry of text messages, and my local MTB tribe members and I settled on this place for our weekly Friday ride:

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We call this one the FriWhiLu, short for Friday Whiting/Luge, one of the quintessential South OC rides. I’ve hit “117 efforts” down Luge so far on Strava since 2012, but have been doing this loop since the early 1990’s, so the actual number is probably triple that. Despite hundreds of journeys on this loop, it is still a favorite. Here’s a link to a fairly lengthy video of the same ride from my former identity as BobaSurf59. Sorry for the poor video quality. As mentioned, the new computer and editing software should improve upon the quality for future vids…

With all the hard work and planning complete, it was time to activate the serotonin and endorphin pathways again, with a pretty decent sunset from the Chez Boba Firepit:

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The fermented grain beverage provided just enough effect to loosen up the GABA receptors* a little, and enhance the pleasant feelings from the serotonin and endorphin buzz provided by the sunset and primal fire… (And the kids were kind enough to hang out with me to keep the oxytocin pathway flowing, too.)

Well, signing off for now, but hopefully I’ll have a story or two to tell after tomorrow’s FriWhiLu. And, coming up next week, we’ve got a fun crew heading up to Lake Tahoe for some of the absolutely epic rides that can be found around the lake and mountains there. Will definitely report back from that one…

Keep the NeuroAdventures flowing!

BobA

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*I won’t spend time explaining these neurochemical pathways again, since you can read about them here.

**This reference isn’t actually in the Neuro-101 section of this website, so I’ll tell you in quick layman terms that the well-known chemicals psilocybin  and lysergic acid dietheylimide both work their effects by turbocharging the serotonin system in the brain, so likely other naturally-occuring surreal moments do, as well…

***Not going to spend a lot of time covering her contributions to the household, and I have nothing personally against cats as a species, but this one is definitely a twisted and possibly completely evil example of her kind…

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