Every few weeks the fine people at AimingLow publish one of my pieces for their hilarious site. Today was one of those days. I always forget to mention when this happens and I thought I’d share with you my last two videos I produced. It’s about… well… vibrators. Enjoy.
This is probably the weirdest thing about me.
No, wait. It definitely is.
When I was nineteen I started to get involved in new-agey stuff. Out of sheer curiosity I visited the local shop that sold dream catchers and patchuli face cream. As I was looking over the Kama Sutra books with explicit photos, I noticed a line of beautiful glass bowls on a wall. The keeper noted my interest and asked if I was familiar with chakras. I told her that Chaka Kahn was okay, but I didn’t like her later stuff. She laughed but I was serious.
She explained that one’s chakras consisted of seven energy centers in the body. Each corresponded to a particular color (seven major colors), keynote (seven major notes), and region of the body from the top of the head down to the base of the spine.
She asked me to sit in a chair and pulled out one of the bowls. They were made of quartz crystal and were hundreds of dollars per. She took a baton and started swirling around the inside edge. Suddenly the room began vibrating and my body started humming. She asked where in my body I was feeling energy and I said in my solar plexus. She told me that was right and that she had used the bowl that activates the solar plexus chakra. Another bowl was pulled from the wall, activated, and I felt humming in my throat. Yep – that was the throat chakra bowl. I was natural at this shit.
From then on I was convinced chakras were real. I bought a couple of chakra balancing cds by Steven Halpern who’s basically the Mozart of new age music. When listening to his electric piano at night, my head would oddly sway slightly left to right automatically. It felt natural and pleasant and I didn’t think anything of it. As soon as I turned off the cd my head would stop moving. No biggie.
A few years later I was at an eye exam seated in a darkened room in a comfortable chair. The optometrist left the room for a minute and I dropped into a trance. All of a sudden my head started bobbing up and down. It felt amazing – a pure endorphin release. I freaked out after a minute because MY HEAD WAS BOBBING UP AND DOWN BY ITSELF. I stopped the movements (by thinking it to stop) and assumed I must have a serious neurological condition.
I freaked out for a few weeks but then decided it wasn’t anything to worry about. I have no medical training, mind you. Smart move.
After that day at the eye doctor my head would bob whenever I relaxed. The most common time was as I got ready for bed. My melon would shake for a few moments before I drifted off. During the day the movements would only happen if I went into a meditative state (by the way, I’ve never meditated). I have listened to a lecture from a meditation teacher who said that people sway all the time when they go into trance. I asked a ton of people over the years, however – those who did meditation, yoga, or prayer, and nobody could relate to the bobbing.
Over the years the movements have evolved. My arms now flay and my feet squirm around as well. These days my head moves in various patterns, like when Eddie Murphy did the Stevie Wonder impression on SNL. I can stop the movements at any time, but I often let them go nuts. My ex-wife used to yell at me because it bothered her out so much. It’s a real freakshow.
Well, I finally decided that I must not be the only person who experiences this phenomenon. Turns out it’s a known thing (but uncommon) for meditators. The involuntary movements are called kriyas. There are all sorts of theories about what is happening and why (it’s a natural body purification, or the result of Kundalini energy rising). I don’t believe in any of that nonsense. I think I just get so relaxed that my body goes limp, and my unconscious thinks it’s fun to flop around like a moron. Despite the jerkiness of the movements, it’s quite relaxing. Like I said earlier – it’s pleasurable as hell. But spiritual? Nah.
There are dozens of YouTube videos where people demonstrate their kriyas. Some are dramatic, others subtle. But basically it’s head or body movements that happen on their own. I don’t know why my body does them, but it feels damned amazing. I almost filmed a video where you could watch it in action, but then thought better of it. You’d feel I was ready for the mental hospital.
Instead I decided to show you something way more gross. I can move my scalp back and forth and it’s super creepy. Enjoy.
I was thinking on the subway this evening, “Why did I really build an app for my blog?”
The easy and obvious answer is that it would make accessing my content easier. The app aggregates my podcasts, posts, and even videos, as well as my Twitter and Facebook feeds. It does, in fact, help people who want to read, listen or watch my stuff find it in one spot.
Not that it’s particularly tough to find all my content. I have links to everything from the blog, and my analytics suggest you happily click from one page to another using those navigations. No, there was something else behind it.
I wanted to be the first blogger with their own app.
And, actually, maybe I am. In doing some research I was unable to find any apps specific to bloggers. I thought that from a brand perspective it would help me get my name out there, cause a splash, or at least separate me from the pack. I’m certainly not the most trafficked personal blog on the web. I do okay, but I ain’t Dooce or TheBloggess.
I thought having my own app would make me “cool.” Now, I really did want to build it for the purposes explained above, but I also knew that the main motivator was bragging rights. This is not a bad thing, per se. I’m okay with having a little ego around one’s creativity. If I didn’t want people to read my stuff, I certainly would have this blog. Not one with my name attached, anyway.
As a reward for all the hard work I have put into my content, I decided to invest in building an app. This was coming off the heels of writing every day for 400 straight (also, bragging rights). Now, “invest” is the wrong word because I decided to make the app free. Which means I forked over the cash to have it built with no chance of recouping the cost. I didn’t care. This was exciting!
I chronicled the process of building it and released the app on both Apple and Android devices. The first version had a bunch of bugs which were quickly straightened out. A third release is due by year’s end and it will include a new feature to make the app even more functional. I’m all jazzed about it.
Submitting the application to Google was simple. I dragged and dropped and a few hours later it was available for download. Easy. Apple’s process is a lot more complicated.
First you have to have a Mac (I don’t). My developer is Chinese and doesn’t speak English – through rough translations, he submitted it to the App Store. The I had to do a bunch of tedious stuff like create screenshots for every version of the iPhone and iPad. Then you wait for review. My first version took seven days to approve.
When I realized there were serious bugs that needed to be addressed I quickly had them fixed and submitted version two for approval. This time it took nine days. That sucked considering the app didn’t work right. I mean, this wasn’t personal. That’s just Apple’s process. It was frustrating though to receive tweets every day telling me how certain things didn’t work. According to the stats a bunch of people uninstalled it during that window.
When the ninth day came I received an email from Apple that a decision had been reached. I assumed I had been approved. I had not.
The message stated that devs concluded that I had “objectionable” material in my app that needed to be removed before it could go live. They included a screenshot of what they found distasteful.
This was a photo from a recent blog post. Since the app pulls the most current stories, this was at the top. It also pulls the first photo and displays it prominently on the blog tab of the app. So, they didn’t have to look far to see, well, more of me than they would have preferred.
Now, there’s nothing inherently distasteful about a guy in a bath eating ice cream and reading a book with his genitals marked out. At least not to me – but I guess that’s obvious since I published it. Hell, TMZ prints more provocative material than me every day and their app is available. But for some reason, the quality assurance guy (or woman, but probably a guy) thought this was a rejection-able offense.
That someone had reviewed my app and looked specifically at a photo of me nearly-naked was awesome. Then, they burned a few calories by taking a screenshot with their phone, sending it to me, and writing about how this specific image needed to be removed. There are over 900k approved apps and mine didn’t make the cut. Because of my bodice.
So, I took down the post and resubmitted. It was approved a few days later. I immediately put the post with the offending image back up. Screw ‘em.
I just realized that you could get the app pulled right now by showing them the above photo or even this post. Please don’t.
At the end of the day, I can brag to myself that I have an app in both Apple and Android stores. But, guess what? My life hasn’t changed. I’m not any more of a star blogger than before. People who visit here, over 99%, have never downloaded the app and probably won’t. It doesn’t hurt my feelings, though. You reading these words is more than enough.
I’ll keep working on improving the app because, well, it’s fun. I think it’s hysterical that a bunch of you now have my non-smiling-tough-guy face as an icon next to Candy Crush and Yelp. Thank you for allowing me to invade your phone.