15 November 2008

I Hate This

You know when you're in bed and you pull the covers up and your hand slips and you punch yourself in the face?

I hate that.

03 November 2008

Geeks and Jocks

What an odd country America can be at times.

Anyone who has ever spent some time in the US knows that there is an neverending riff between the "geeks" and the jocks. The term "geek" is a slang term most often applied to the intelligent, science-oriented student, notably poor at sports, and socially inept. This is most apparent to those who have spent some time in the school system, where they are often the objects of ridicule. The stereotype is a shy and unobtrusive figure, scurrying from class to class, avoiding tormentors.

And few things are as famous as a High School jock. These are the masters of sports. Admired by the students and staff almost to the point of worship. They have followers, often in the form of attractive girls building their inflated egos to absurd heights. Stereotypically, the good looking jock has no equal in a school. They can graduate with poor grades and even get full scholarships to play sports.

The reality, of course, is different, but not that different. Not as extreme as it once was, but for decades, there was a substantial measure of truth to the "typical" geek and jock. This made it's way though popular culture in every form. From comic books to movies, the dichotomy between these two classes is ingrained in American culture.

And this is where it gets weird.
Why would this be? Why would such rewards go to a sports player and such derision go to those who use their minds?

Well, i put my little apricot-shaped brain to work and came up with a theory.

The US is very much a religious nation. The majority of the population follow Christian based faiths and this is felt everywhere you go in America. And what does the Church typically demand of its followers? Obediance, unquestioned faith, work, sacrifice, and conformity by believers and non-believers alike.

Exactly like sports.
To be any good at any sport, you must work hard. You have to follow a strict set of rules; violation will result in failure, which is not tolerated. You will trust your coach or team captain to tell you what to do, and you'll do it. Even sacrifice yourself for the team if necessary. In the past, there were even standards of appearence and behaviour when off the field. Conformity at all times. Conform, work hard, have faith in your coach and team and your reward starts with the glory of your peers.

Sports is a living, breathing metaphor of Christanity. No wonder it resonated so well with the people. They knew this tune and knew it well.

And the geeks, of course, represent everything the Church hates. Individuals, freethinking people who ask questions. Imagination and intellect are the antethesis of religion. These are the people who make the world progress, who make our lives better. But when young, they have to fight to get to where they want to go. Ultimately, they can work to change the world yet their names are unknown.

I think our priorities are backwards.

Everyone seems to know the name of the great sports stars. But can you name the inventor of the transistor?

04 October 2008

Heaven and Hell Defined

A bit of humor for the day. Two definitions pf Heaven and Hell.

Heaven is
An English house,
An American salary,
A Chinese cook, and
A Japanese wife.

Hell is
A Japanese house,
A Chinese salary,
An English cook, and
An American wife.


Heaven is where
the police are British,
the cooks are French,
the mechanics are German,
the lovers are Italian
and it is all organized by the Swiss.

Hell is where
the police are German,
the cooks are English,
the mechanics are French,
the lovers are Swiss,
and it is all organized by the Italians.

11 September 2008

Shaky Cam - The Worst Hollywood Trend EVER!

Everyone has seen this. At least, if you watch TV or have gone to the movies anytime in the last 10 years. A clever and edgy technique that has the camera operator shake the camera to give you that "you are there" feeling. What nonsense. Does your world view move around violently when you do something active? How about when sitting and talking to someone?

Yes, shaky cam is used even when people are sitting quietly and talking. Do sitting people move randomly about when you talk to them? Why would anyone put this in a movie? Who wants to see nausea inducing filmwork?

And the thing is that everyone i know hates it. You hear complaints about this godawful camera work from everyone, critics and public alike. Have you seen Cloverfield? Did you get nauseous watching it? Most people do.

Of course, it's probably great for directors. After all, they can film an exciting fight scene and shake the camera so much you either can't watch it or can't figure out exactly what's going on. Either way, that's a whole lot less work for the director; choreographing a fight is a lot of work. Much easier if no one can watch it. If you've seen the Bourne movies, then you know what i mean.

To make matters worse, shaky cam is often accompanied by short editing. So not only is the picture moving around violently, but the film segments are so short, you can't figure out what you just saw anyway.

But maybe i'm wrong. Maybe Hollywood is helping people with various handicaps. Letting someone with Parkinson's Disease do the camera work and another with ADHD do the editing is just helping out. Industry should help people.

Remember all those old home movies that nobody could watch because Grampa couldn't hold the camera steady and everyone had to look away so as not to get dizzy? Well, go back and appologise! Gramps was way ahead of his time, using cutting edge camera techniques not discovered by Hollywood for decades. Go back and watch those old home movie again. Only this time "Oooooh" and "Ahhhh" over the incessant dizzying motion of the modern school of film.

Shaky cam is the worst, most Godawful method of using a camera ever devised. It's been going on for years now and doesn't seem like it'll ever end. Everybody hates it, and yet Hollywood won't stop using it.


05 September 2008

Get Off the Road, I'm Driving!

Some bright comedian once said "Everyone driving faster than me is an idiot and everyone driving slower than me is a jerk."


I've driven in some pretty out of the way places. Most of the drivers suck. Saudi Arabia has the worst driven i've ever seen. And i've driven in France and Korea. Compared to these Driving Hells, America is pretty tame and rather polite. Americans usually use their blinkers; they use their lights; they stay off the sidewalks; and most pay attention to the speed limit.

But there are three things Americans simply can't handle.

1. Driving to slowly in the fast lane. How fucking difficult is this to figure out? I swear you can't go on the highway for 10 miles without running up on someone going too slow for the left lane. There's at least 2 lanes, for crying out loud, so move the fuck over. There are even signs all along the Interstate telling you to keep to the right. Let's see, you can remember to use your blinker every time you turn, right? But remembering what the lanes are for, noooo, that's way too hard.

Can't they feel my wrath? An ego is coming, so begone from my sight and allow me to velocitate unimpeded.

2. Parking lots. OK, someone drives into a large parking lot. What's the first thing they do? Look for a parking close to the store? Yeah, probably. But how do they get there? Drive down the well-marked lanes? NO! They immediately cut across the parking lot. WTF! You can see them squeezing between parked cars to get across the lanes, then drive too fast to where they're going. I just don't get it.

3. Stop lights. This is a new one. So there you are, stopped at the light on a two lane street. You see a car in your rear view mirror approaching the light in the lane next to you. You look over to see the car, but it never shows up. Why? Because the person decided to stop an entire car length from the line. What's is this all about? For decades, i've seen people stop at the line when the light's red. For the past few years i've noticed more and more people stopping far from the line. And it's worse if you're behind one these assholes. What's really annoying (aside from the fact that i hate them) is that they're too far away from the magnetic sensor under the asphalt that starts the timing sequence to change the light. So it takes longer than usual for the light to change.

Why are there people on the road with me? I really don't know.

29 August 2008

As we get Older, Men get Better Looking and Women...

Everybody has heard this. It's a common complaint among those in the business of looking good (or at least gooder than the general population). Especially in, say, Hollywood.

Men get better looking as they get older and women don't.

It's often true. So i put my powerful monkey brain to work to try and figure out why would this be.

And i have figured it out; it has to do with genetics, evolution, and survival of the species. This is a bit complex, so i'll do my best to explain.

Let's talk about women.
The natural lifespan of humans as animals is about 40, maybe 50 years. This explains why a women's capability to have healthy children drops off dramatically at 35. They simply are approaching the end of their lifespan.

There's a limit to how many children a female can have. Long gestation, difficult birthing, predominantly single births, and the longest child rearing in the animal kingdom limit the child production of any women.

So it's pretty important than women have children at an early age. If they wait, they may not survive to have any. (Remember, i'm talking about "wild" humans, not civilized ones.) To do so, they need to be appealing at an early age to attract males.

This is seen in many societies where girls are married off soon after they are capable of having children.

So let's talk about men.
Once past puberty, men can have any number of offspring. Being young is no particular advantage. In fact, an older male is proof that he can survive. Beating out disease and danger, the older male becomes desirable because he is a survivor, due to better health, smarts, and a bit of luck. The older male is naturally more attractive.

Any evidence?
Yes, all around us. Think of every couple you've ever known. In how many of them were the males older than the females? Would that be the vast majority? It may be only a year of two, but when couples hook up, the male is usually older. Random chance? Of course not, or the ratio would be 50/50.

Know any couples where the males is much older than the female? Probably, we've all seen this. What is your reaction? Do you find it odd? Creepy? Weird? Yes, if the female is too young, but if dealing with adults, a little odd, but no big deal.

How about a younger male and a much older female? Now what's your gut reaction? I'll bet something about that just doesn't seem right.

These are examples of your genetics and evolutionary development at work. You are genetically hardwired to like and dislike certain things. And what is attractive to you was written in your code a very long time ago.

...and that's why men get better... well, you know the rest.