Just admit it honey.. we're lost!
Sociologists everywhere are studying human behavior in society. I've got a thesis subject for them.
My theory: there's a direct relationship between the role of men and women on the one hand, and the sales figures for car navigation systems on the other. Two opposing forces are at work here:
- men being unable and unwilling to admit that they're lost or need any type of navigational information.
- women having a nervous breakdown over the pointless driving around as a result of this.
Older but not wiser
As we grow older, we become more bitter and depressed. Some would argue that this has to do with being confronted with the raw realities of adult life. However, many children are still able to play and have fun under brutal circumstances.
I think the explanation is simpler. As we grow older, the number of new experiences diminishes, and we recognize a lot of "new" things as revamped old stuff. As children, we're still lost in wonder and marveling at everything we see. Staying young, then, is all about keeping an open mind and actively seeking out truly new experiences.
High Art meets Low Art
What happens if you take one of the greatest theatrical plays in the history of mankind, and force it down the throat of a forgotten piece of freeware created by Microsoft on a rainy Sunday afternoon? That's right, you get... the Chatspeare project. Where avatars try to wash the blood from their hands.
Project Proposal: The Memento Project
I've been pondering the restrictive straitjacket that is the weblog format. Example: readers expect daily posts, but almost nobody can post something interesting every single day. The result: trivial lifelog entries.
So I tried to make the disadvantage work in my favor. Here's what I've come up with: a story posted in 'Memento' sequence. (If you didn't see 'Memento', stop reading this entry and go see it.) Since posts are organized in reverse chronological order, visitors read the story in the 'right' order –only the beginning will be missing.
Now to find a story that lends itself to this technique.
No Shit, Sherlock
Sherlock Holmes solved murders as follows: if a situation seems impossible, eliminate everything that is impossible. What's left, however unlikely, must be what happened.
This principle comes in handy when trying to find stuff. I'm extremely proficient at losing things, and I know from experience that you should never (a) try to remember where you last used It or (b) try to guess where It should be. You only ask yourself this when it's pointless. My Holmes-inspired recommendation: look everywhere. Since my living quarters are quite cramped, this is an easy task anyway, and it saves a world of frustration.
The internet is filled with metaphors referring to real life. But why shouldn't it be the other way round? Here's two examples:
- Cc: anyone who stands between two people having a conversation, without participating.
- Bcc: a person furtively listening in on a conversation, while only one party in the conversation is aware of this fact; e.g., a cop eavesdropping on a mafia boss and a snitch carrying a wire, or an eyewitness listening in on the interrogation of a crime suspect.
And speaking of metaphors, if incoming data is known as a 'feed', shouldn’t we call outgoing data a 'shit'?
Instead of renting the same kind of movies (say, horror or romantic comedy), create diversity by finding an unintended similarity. Try colors, for example:
- The Green Mile – Stephen King in prison again
- Blue Velvet – David Lynch's masterpiece
- Red Sorghum – Early Zhang Yimou
- Picture of Dorian Gray – Based on the Oscar Wilde novel
- Men in Black – Sci-fi without pretense
- White Heat – James Cagney as oedipal mobster
- The Pink Panther – Inspector Clouseau's absurd adventures
- The Color Purple – Underappreciated Spielberg
And, obviously, Kieslowski's "Rouge", "Blanc" and "Bleu" movies. Now there's an interesting movie night.
The Longest Shoot
Experiment: a movie which chronicles the lives of a group of people from youth to old age, without using makeup or different actors. That is, it's some 20 years in the making. Huge amounts of footage are shot, and then cut down to feature length in the end.
You'd expect the plot to be affected by world history during those years. But such decade-spanning drama already exists in the form of soaps; and strangely, exactly those series present a cocoon-like, time-independent world view, in which only names and faces ever change.
So the idea's still good. Now to execute it.
The Relay Space Race
Traveling faster than the speed of light seems impossible, so space exploration will probably be time-consuming. So suppose you finally reach a planet inhabited by intelligent species. Wouldn't you want to spend ages there, studying their customs and languages? But you'd also like space exploration to continue.
The solution: take some of the aliens on board and leave some of your crew behind. That way, they don't have to build their own ship, we get to study their culture in-depth, and space exploration isn't delayed.
Now to store this fabulous idea somewhere until we finally leave the friggin' solar system.
Another New Word
dividual, n. The opposite of an individual; someone who mindlessly follows whichever crowd they feel part of. The number of dividuals is on the rise; some even actively advocate this conformist behavior to others, promoting the ideology of dividualism; we call these people dividualists. It's important to realize that dividuals are not just those who follow the common denominator of an entire population, but also what is accepted within their specific subcommunity. Up to a point, everybody is a bit dividualistic.
A new word
nype, n. The promotional diarrhoea excreted onto the general public before the release of a movie, CD etc, making them so sick of said entertainment item that it will be a disappointment to them regardless of any real qualities it may or may not have.
Case in point: the movie 'Bridget Jones's Diary', which I saw this week. What may otherwise have been an entertaining and funny romantic comedy suddenly turned into "that stupid movie people just kept on talking and talking about as if it was the best thing since sliced bread.. just because the book was a bestseller."
Anarcho-marketeers at AdBusters recommend not watching television this week. Praiseworthy though their motives may be, the measure's too extreme.
Through TV, I learned a lot about the Great Depression, Jazz and the Civil War, and enjoyed great comedy like Seinfeld and Fry & Laurie. The problem isn't whether you watch; it's what you watch.
My alternative: TV Diet. Simply mark shows you want to see in your TV guide, and watch nothing more. Don't channel-surf. During commercials, press mute and talk to someone or get coffee. You won't waste time, but you won't feel like an anti-social weirdo either.
100 words - Gives New Meaning to the Term "Bowel Movement"
For some unknown reason, the private swimming pools of the rich and famous have always been kidney-shaped. Greek immigrant Gastro Enteritis is trying his luck on some alternative designs. "In Athens, I studied medicine,” he explains. “I got the idea looking at the diagrams.” While not everyone may appreciate his stomach-shaped pool or wish to swim the full length of his “Intestine”, Enteritis is confident he will appeal to the more quirky segment of the upwardly mobile population. And admittedly, it beats doing the same boring laps over and over again. Unfortunately, www.organpools.com, is down, but here are some samples.
100 words - Subconscious Lyrics Association (SLA)
Related to synchronicity is a theory postulated by my brother and myself, which I’ll call Subconscious Lyrics Association.
Say you’re in the zoo, admiring caged fauna. A song pops into your head, possibly one you haven’t heard for ages. You hum the intro. When you get to the lyrics, you realize that it’s Talking Heads’ “Animals”.
The SLA Theory claims that your brain subconsciously connects observed events to a song’s lyrics. It then brings the song’s music into your head and hey presto, the association is made.
Naturally, empirical research is required to verify this theory. Maybe it’s just coincidence.
100 words - The Real Face/Off
Recently, I came across a movie scene on TV where I saw an actor’s neck and back. I was waiting to see his face, but the scene ended without a single clear shot of it. I was in suspense in an otherwise boring movie.
What if you would make a movie in which you never see the main character’s face? This would not be because the plot required the character to be anonymous, but for style’s sake. It would also be a big challenge for the actor. How to express sadness or anger without the ability to show your face?
It occurred to me today that there’s a simple explanation for the fact that most diets don’t work. In my opinion, the forces that motivate most people who try to lose weight are the same forces that made them eligible for a diet in the first place. People eat because it makes them feel good, and they diet because they think being thin will make them feel good, too. No wonder that when they don’t feel good on the short term, they do what does make them feel good on the short term, which is eating. Hence the yoyo effect.
Contemporary quacks would have you believe that all diseases are psychosomatic. AIDS and cancer, they say, can be cured if we only have the right mindset.
I’d like to propose a new word: somatopsychic. It means that all our psychological ailments can be traced to physical causes. Happiness, grumpiness, love and sadness are caused exclusively by such things as the weather, viruses and nutrition.
Next time the charlatans try to convert you, just say, “You’re deluded, but it’s okay. Your mom just didn’t give you enough zucchini when you were a kid. It’s all in your body, man.. it’s somatopsychic.”