You may not trust your senses when you first come upon Krzywy Domek (pictured). The name is Polish for “Crooked House,” and it’s an appropriate one. This building bends and twists to distort the idea of what a building should look like. Walls warp in and out, bulging in some areas and appearing to collapse in others. A roof of blue and green shingles tops the structure, looking suspiciously like the back of a dragon.
The end result? Something that looks like it came straight out of a fairytale. That makes sense, too, as the building designers wanted to pay homage to a famous Polish children’s illustrator Jan Marcin Szancer. Inside the building, you’ll find a shopping center complete with bars, stores, and restaurants. Our advice: Stick to the outside of the building for the best selfies.
A word about Crayola, a truly American product:
Officially, Prussian blue was the very first synthetic color ever created. It was first crafted in 1704 by a chemist from Berlin who mixed cochineal (a red dye) with iron sulfate and a cyanide mixture. The result was a dark blue pigment that quickly became a much sought-after shade. In fact, it was popular for so long that it outlasted the empire for which it was named.
The Kingdom of Prussia was dissolved in 1918 after World War I, so it was long gone by the time Crayola introduced the hue to their lineup in 1946 (pictured above). But by 1958, the company renamed their Prussian blue crayon to “midnight blue,” either because schoolchildren didn’t know what Prussia was anymore, or because of complaints that the name wasn’t “Cold War sensitive.”
What happens when you hear someone do any of the following: smacking their lips while eating, slurping drinks, breathing, yawning, sniffling, humming, tapping their fingers, typing or texting with the keyboard clicks switched on? If you have a strong emotional response and a desire to escape or stop the sound, you may have misophonia.
Literally meaning a “hatred of sound”, misophonia is a neurophysiological condition in which people have a disproportionately negative reaction to specific sounds. People with the condition are aware that they overreact to certain sounds, it’s just that their reaction is not within their control.
The trigger sounds that people with misophonia react to can vary from person to person. However, some categories are more common than others and they tend to be related to the mouth or eating, breathing or nasal sounds and finger or hand sounds. Evidence suggests that this aversion develops in childhood and tends to get worse over time.
People with misophonia find trigger sounds more distressing if they are produced by family members rather than by strangers. This may make family meals particularly problematic for misophonics.
Misophonic responses tend to be emotional, with anger being the most common response, ranging from mild annoyance to extreme rage. People can also feel other strong emotional responses such as anxiety or disgust. Physiological responses include an increase in blood pressure and heart rate, sweating and muscle contractions.
You might assume that everyone has, to some degree, a negative response to certain sounds, such as a sudden, loud bang or high-pitched squeal. Yet in misophonia, people can react to sounds that are not widely considered unpleasant, such as whispering or soft breathing. Quiet sounds can evoke as much of a reaction in misophonics as loud sounds.
Researchers have investigated whether misophonia is linked to, or caused by, other psychiatric or physical conditions, such as tinnitus, obsessive-compulsive disorder, eating disorders or post-traumatic stress disorder. The evidence suggests that, although some association exists with these conditions, none of these disorders can fully explain misophonic symptoms, suggesting misonphonia is a separate and independent condition in its own right. (High pitched sounds tend to do this to me).
Well, I have either bored you silly, or you now have a new hobby. Have a safe day, again!!!
Many of you know I was stuck in Lodi one summer, back in 1968. I went to summer school, worked, and played baseball for the local Lodi nine. I never knew much about the town, except for some of the players who grew up there. I also knew they produced huge amounts of wine, mostly on the less expensive side, the type that us college students could afford.
Then along came the Fogartys, and Credence Clearwater Revival. Yes!!! I was stuck in Lodi that summer, but had a great time.
Now after almost 50 years, things have changed. I am now a cyclist, no more baseball. And Lodi’s grapes are producing some award winning wines. We plan to do both, cycle, and taste wine today, with a designated driver, of course. We have cycled Monterey and Napa, spending most of our time dodging the traffic while riding on narrow bike lanes. Lodi says they are different, and better.
From the SF Chronicle: But Lodi is different. Its roads are empty and flat. Their shoulders are broader than a linebacker’s. When you park your bike at a winery, the person who owns the place often turns out to be the person pouring the samples. Most Lodi vintners are too busy selling their wines to visitors to sell their wineries to conglomerates.
Start at the Lodi Wine and Visitor Center on Turner Road, where the friendly folks behind the counter are giving away seven varieties of genuine Lodi dirt.
“We’ve got more growers and more acres and more grapes than Napa and Sonoma,” said Josh Spears, an official tasting room greeter.
Downtown, a cyclist passes beneath the historic Lodi arch and all the Lodi taverns that the fellow in the famous 1969 Credence Clearwater Revival song said that, oh Lord, he was stuck in again. That tune, a municipally beloved cheap shot, is still the biggest thing ever to hit Lodi (John Fogerty, the fellow who wrote it, said he never visited Lodi but that the name of the town sounded like a place someone would get trapped). Keep pedaling, because none of the taverns, understandably, is laying claim to being the fateful, dead-end tavern.
On Woodbridge Road, the Heritage Oak Winery is a great place to stop. It’s got picnic tables, a restroom that you don’t have to ask the key for, a cute black puppy that chases a blue ball if you throw it, and a grid of trails for hiking and bird-watching. It’s also got 23 wines to try. This is a problem, said owner Tom Hoffman, because the $10 fee only entitles you to pick seven of them. But if you buy a bottle of wine, you get your $10 back. Plus, visitors may help themselves to free oranges and figs from the vineyard orange and fig trees.
After you get hungry from lugging around all the free dirt, stop at the Lodi Airport Cafe to have lunch and watch the rookie skydivers at the airfield next door. The restaurant, decorated with antique airplane parts, is well known for its home-baked focaccia. Waitress Ashlie Baker says you better not have it before you go skydiving.
It is a short 25 mile loop, with several wineries and a cafe’ to enjoy. I have a designated driver, the best way to taste and ride. So, for today, I do not mind being “Stuck in Lodi, again.”
Fast forward to today, I am meeting some friends from Napa Valley for a bike ride and lunch, probably at Michael David Winery. I am going to also buy a big lot of their Inkblot* Cab franc, which I enjoy immensely. Let’s hope it cools down a little by the end of this week.
*Michael David had a great 35% off sale, with a flat $10 shipping rate.