Archive for the 'Human Interest' Category

Image Therapy Musings: Tekkonkinkreet and our ability to laugh

I drove by the Movie theater on 21st and saw that they were playing Tekkonkinkreet. I posted something on this earlier this month, and I have to say, I think this was probably one of my favorite movies out this Summer. The images were just visually stunning. There was a good deal of violence, so I wouldn’t recommend it as a kid flick for very young children. The play on light vs. dark was actually a little refreshing. It’s nice to be reminded that you can’t have one without the other and that light and darkness as concepts, moods, states of mind depend on each other. You cannot always live in one vs. the other.

The backgrounds, colors and details reminded me of the packaging from items from the Chinese Grocery store we used to frequent when I was a very young child. I think it was one of the few or only Asian grocery stores in town at the time… I think I just dated myself. I always felt really comfortable in there despite the fact that it seemed dark and confusing.

[Youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=IWOCf1wNlk0]

I was able to see the Simpsons movie as well. Despite the fact that I did feel like I was in the theater watching an extended episode or a string of episodes on a DVD, I did enjoy it. Who can pass up on the superb humor of the Simpson’s writing cadre? It was a nice way to end the work week: with laughter. I know it’s easy for us as a species to get all hung up on our ability to build magnificent cities, engineer impossible buildings or create works of art, but I think the ability to laugh and appreciate the comedic truly sets us apart from any other creature in the planet.

Why are we geared to laugh? Does it provide the same kind of physical release or satisfy an appetite like eating or sex? I’ve always felt that laughter is like exercising the heart. If you loose your ability to do this there’s a life or spirit in a person that may loose it’s radiance and ability to cope with all the darkness in this world. Look at all the cultures and social groups in our past (and even present) which really seemed to have a hard time with lightening up.  Can you imagine what life was for the Calvinists.  It’s kind of hard to find humor in things when you live under the guidance of the notion that you’re either doomed or you’re not (though most people are doomed*) or that human beings by nature are depraved and fallen creatures. You know if I was born a 16 or 17th century Calvinist I’d emmigrate from Switzerland  to Holland right away… either that or work hard and look forward to death because it would probably be a cake-walk compared to the hell on earth that they built. They’re always painted and drawn in art as if their tidies are in bunches.

*If that were the case and people were all doomed… I’d break out the pack of Gitanes and open a bottle of Pernod and say… “What the hey.”

Some related things:

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PDX Bloggers Meeting, now I’m full of ideas… mostly babbling

So, yesterday, I broke out of my electronic bubble and went to meet other bloggers (and some podcasters) from the Portland area at a meeting sponsored by Intel and Jive Software. Imagine that this is the second time in this past month that I’ve gone out and met other bloggers. At some point I had to move out of this bubble because I have this human weakness which is I enjoy face to face contact and conversation. It really was a wonderful meeting and I thank Josh Bancroft of Tiny Screenfuls for posting the notice on it. It was really a sort of late/last minute decision to go attend, but I did and I really had a great time.

The wonderful thing about bloggers is that they are often curious people who search for things, connect things and see endless possibilities. They are also people who can evaluate things with a critical eye and ask questions like, “What does this mean for us? How will this affect us? Where can we go with this?” It’s wonderful being in a room with people like that because you come out of the room just bursting with ideas. I’m becoming convinced that the ability to make connections like these is the fuel for a truly creative economy. There was so much I learned from others this night I can’t possibly post it all here.

The twittering outside my head

Twitter was a regular topic in the conversations I took part in. Now I may be sympathetic to or understand the appeal of communicating snippets of your day to people in the form of actions and thoughts (Jane from Jane’s E-Learning Picks actually gives a succinct description of Twitter). There’s still something that freaks me out about being this transparent, even if I am choosing the people I share with. In a conversation someone noted that Twitter doesn’t really work unless you have a group of people you’re sharing with. Later, it occurred to me that I use Twitter, but just in my head all by myself. Sort of like it that way actually. I share my thoughts periodically in my blog, but somehow I like the idea of being an independent entity jumping on and off (social) networks.

The internet is making us psychic…NOT!… not?

Jessica (from OnPR ) noted that she read somewhere that Twitter is actually rendering its participants a little psychic. People could actually relate anecdotes or jokes that someone else might tell at the end of the day before that person could say it because they were privy to the snippets of their thoughts or actions during the day. This reminded me of an article that April shared with us earlier that day on how the internet may be causing some people to become prescient. The example cited is the posting on Wikipedia about the murder of Christopher Benoit’s wife 14 hours before they found her body. The article argues that the increasing transparency provided by the internet provides people with so much information that we can make better assessments and predictions about things:

…the increasing transparency that technology is continuing to create in the previously much denser information world is, among other things, creating situations where we can figure lots of things out that we just could not have figured out before.

Both this and Jessica’s point makes sense, because simply the more data you have, the better your guesses will be. Therefore, your guesses being fairly accurate, it may seem that you can somewhat effectively predict the future. Let’s not get overly excited here, it’s nice to be aware of this, but my gut feeling says we shouldn’t bank on using this ‘super-power’ too readily. It gives me a bad feeling, the way the Nazi’s and Fascists zealous infatuation with some sciences gives me a bad feeling.

Translation is hard even though the world is flat

I spoke a bit with Audrey (Life of Audrey and Dyepot, Teapot) and we started talking about using translators to understand what other bloggers are saying in different languages. She noted that Japanese was very hard to get because the structure of the language was different. I noted that languages like German may have a different meter and sound a little funny when translated mechanically. Though anything even the thoughts in my head can sound funny when they’re translated mechanically. More the sentences in German seem so long and contrary to the abbreviated writing styles I was brought up to appreciate. I had to stop and think… I wonder what English sounds like to the Chinese when directly translated into their language. Although we may still have difficulty understanding each other’s spoken/written language, does it make sense that eventually on the Net people my generate their own language to compensate. It’s probably happened on some rudimentary level in chat with acronyms. But even the commonly used ones are still English based.

With an ‘increasingly’ infinite and scary universe of knowledge we live in we need some guides …. How about some Muses (upgraded for the 3rd Millennia)

There’s been a lot of talk about how we now have access to so much more information via the internet and through social connections and sharing via the net that it seems like we need some guidance and inspiration on how to live in this new age of seemingly infinite possibilities. Later that evening after the dinner, I thought of the 9 muses in Greek Mythology. However, their subjects although still somewhat relevant seem to need a little upgrading. For instance Terspsichore the muse of dancing could become the muse of movement arts… her role is increasingly important because the ‘flatting of the world’ and the sedentary nature of life is causing my/our behind(s) to grow larger. We need to have rediscover our relationship with our bodies to stay healthy and whole. Thalia the muse of comedy could become “the muse of self-reflection over our fumbles and mistakes.” Clio the muse of history could take on the musing of Urban Legends and Pop Cultural history… she might even become the Muse of Marketing (sadly).

How one woman fought identity theft and won!

http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/06/15/IDTHEFT.TMP

This is an excellent article from SF Gate about a woman who tracked down someone who stole her identity.  I thought it was particularly interesting is that people can purchase technology to create official looking imitations of holograms and seals on identity documents.

I don’t like surveillance cameras, but in this case clearly the surveillance camera helped the victim track down the thief because the camera captured a particularly distinctive looking jacket on the perpetrator. Though she didn’t get her money back, she at least was able to find the woman that put her through that ordeal.

Bully for her and all other victims who fight back.


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