2014: The year of evoked potential

In medicine, evoked potential is “an electrical (response) recorded from the nervous system … following presentation of a stimulus.”

A practical example: you have a seizure, your neurologist gets oddly enthusiastic about replicating the experience, and next thing you know you’re hooked up to an EEG with a bunch of lights being flashed in your eyes at ever-more-annoying intervals.

Spending the next three days washing adhesive out of your hair is the most pleasant part of the experience, is what I’m getting at.

Though the actual thing is a (clinically necessary) pain in the ass, I’ve always loved the lexical thing: evoked potential. It speaks to something that is present but sequestered, something known to some but not to all, a latent capability that can come to life given a very specific set of circumstances.

That was my 2014.

Much less amazing (to me) than anything I actually accomplished is the fact that there exist in the world people who are able to perceive, beneath whatever combination of invincibility and insecurity we adopt as daily habit, something worth a second look. Couple that simple act of noticing with a desire to help – or maybe a desire to be helped, or who knows what – and next thing you know, potential is being evoked all over the place.

I’m not big on resolutions, as you know. Nor gratitude, as you also know.

But I know that my year would have been measurably less exciting, chaotic, challenging and fun had others not evoked, had potential not existed in the first place.

I am thankful for those people and I would like to be one of those people. That’s about as close as I’m likely to get to a resolution.

2014 has given me many things, among them the tummy-level suspicion that if we’ve been put here to do anything vis-à-vis our fellow human beings, evoking potential is probably as good as it gets.

So let’s go out and do that, shall we?

Yelling At Kids In Nature™

Last week we went on our annual camping trip with the kids.

While the location affords almost zero cell reception, I still carried my iPhone with me everywhere I went, owing to the fact that it has a decent camera and the fact that unless I’ve got reading to distract me, writing is inevitable.  So I wrote down a dozen or so observations about camping that I’ll spam you with over the next week, I’m sorry and you’re welcome.

In case it wasn’t obvious, I wrote them all on my phone:


Presenting: Unicorn poop pancakes



I can sense how impressed you are.

I’m mostly impressed that the kids ate them.

Now, before you start commenting about my faulty technique, I know that they don’t look like the prototypical unicorn poop cookies.  Or unicorn poop cupcakes.  Or a unicorn poop macaron ice cream sandwich.  Or even unicorn poop soap (which you’re not supposed to eat, though I sort of feel like I’ve earned a taste after typing the word “poop” so many times in a row).

That’s because my unicorniculinarian poops coloured pancakes in sequence: first yellow, then pink, then turquoise.  I know that’s hard to believe, but we are talking about quite the magical bum.

Also magic?  Using an offset spatula to flip these prismatic poops.  DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES USE YOUR BARE HANDS.  Uncooked unicorn poop contains toxic levels of sparkle and is a known source of foodborne adorbs.

Message in a sippy

I’m not sure what I love most about this … that when Juno toddled off with my phone, she used it to send a message to her dad, or that he actually took the time to respond, exactly as she will, a dozen years from now.


If you think I’m talking about you here, yeah, you’re probably right.

If you think I’m talking about you here, yeah, you’re probably right.