31 Aug 2009

Poison Ivy and the Mandelbrot Set

Posted by Teapots Happen

July 9th 2007

One evening I was online, trying not to scratch my wrist, which had broken out in a rash in reaction to poison ivy – which is why I was online trying to find out if steroid cream really expires (I had most of a tube left over from my previous run-in with poison ivy, two summers earlier).

Googling didn’t help, so I posted the question on a forum for such things.

My (now-ex) girlfriend M was busy programming her new cellphone, so I checked my email – and found a new “synchronicity” Google Alert.

I was instantly interested to see a blog post titled “Books, Lightning, Poison Ivy, and the Bizarreness of the Everyday” … since I’d been looking stuff up about poison ivy seconds before, it had been thunderstorming furiously all day – and the post was apparently about synchronicity.

A minor coincidence to be sure, but fresh on the heels of the recent Rubber ducky “chain synchronicity,” I was paying attention …

I told M what I’d found, reading to her aloud from the blog, which started out about the author’s serendipitous, synchronous relationship with a local used bookstore.

Then in one of several PS notes, the blogger talked about having to program all her numbers into a cellphone – which of course was what Mandy was doing at that moment. We laughed at the coincidence.

In the next PS, there was a link to an article about Roger Penrose, a scientist I like. So I clicked and started scanning the article.

Then M asked me to call her cellphone to test the ringtone – so I pulled up her new number on my cell. Since her old number was in there with her real name, I’d put the new number under her nickname – “Mandelbrot.”

I called her, the phone rang, and I went back to the article – and the first paragraph where I’d left off began with “Penrose cites the Mandelbrot set as an example.”


I burst into laughter – which seems to always be my response to coincidences, post-Teapots.

(When I dug into the blogger’s past posts a bit, I found that she was worried that she might have MS … and I was about to be really freaked out if she, too, was diagnosed with it (this was shortly after my weird MS diagnosis / blogger sychronicity) … but fortunately, this potential synchronicity remained unrealized.)

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3 Responses to “Poison Ivy and the Mandelbrot Set”

  1. […] March, I stopped by the blog I wrote about in “Poison Ivy& the Mandelbrot Set” and read this post: Gardener’s Factoid of the […]

  2. Wow. You know I totally forgot all about this! Where were we when you got poison ivy?



  3. actually I can’t remember now … I remember getting poison ivy the previous time at the Punchbowl waterfall in River Falls, but can’t remember where I got it this time.


    teapots happen