Friday, June 21, 2013

The Evolutionary Committee: Plant Edition

"Okay, so Clive has decided to go with a light, pleasant scent in order to attract bees for pollination. Some would call that a safe strategy, but I for one applaud his decision to place survival over this newfangled need to appear innovative. Mabel, I understand they've started calling you 'the corpse flower,' so I hope you're happy."

"My odor brings all the flies to the yard, George, and they're like, 'I'll pollinate yours.'"

"Todd, have you come up with a solution for your soil quality problem?"

"I'm going to murder animals so that they'll rot on my roots."

"Todd, you're a plant. Get it together and come up with something reasonable by Friday. Now I think we can take a five minute - Jesus Christ, Mabel, how can stand to smell yourself?"

"I could teach you, but I'd have to charge."

"Puya chilensis... uses its sharp spines to snare and trap sheep and other animals, which slowly starve to death. The animals then decay at the base of the plant, acting as a fertiliser." (source: BBC)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Social Economics: How I Explain Things To My Extrovert Boss

Essentially Selfish: Social Economics

Your capacity for social interaction is a type of currency. It’s the only type of currency, in fact, that is universal and globally traded. And, like when you were trying to learn about the stock market in high school, everyone begins with an inherent amount of it. 

Some people have more. We call these people extroverts; like their monetary counterparts drive the material economy, they drive the social economy because they have a high capacity for both consumption and donation. The quality of their social interaction is not the question nor the defining factor of their ‘class.’ Rather, they are able to handle volume. They can ‘buy’ expensive social interactions – multiple people, loud settings, frequent interactions – because they have that amount in their social bank accounts.

Introverts can and do also participate in the social stock market, but they don’t have the capacity of an extrovert. Both their input and output is limited – they can only buy so much, but they can also only sell so much. If they deplete their account on, say, a large party, then it takes time to build their reserves back up. 
This is where introverts and extroverts fail to understand each other. 

An extrovert responds to the poverty of another extrovert by quickly loaning them capital. Because of the way the extrovert-driven economy works, they have no reason to doubt that they will be paid back. The market is open and honest, and no one is ever destitute because the currency is in a constant flow. 

Even if offered a loan, however, an introvert simply does not have the internal capacity necessary to store the amount an extrovert who wants to help would offer without thinking. They must build their reserves in order to participate in the economy, but are only capable of making small trades that allow them to build them over time. They may even initially want to take what the extrovert is offering, but will quickly find themselves overwhelmed and facing overdraft fines that leave them just as impoverished as when they began; a little bit of social currency is forever removed from the system when this happens, so that extroverts feel slighted because they did not get their full repayment, and introverts feel guilty for defaulting, or bitter that they were given an amount they were not capable of controlling.

For this reason, a lot of introverts read extroverts as greedy, or hoarders, when extroverts are really just expecting a higher capacity exchange. So they take a lot and in fact are giving a lot, but the introvert they're giving to can't receive it. So the effect is draining but it's not the intention. 

There ARE people who just take, without a reciprocal exchange, but they'll impoverish even an extrovert eventually. A truly extroverted participant in the social economy can be seen as a free-flowing conduit. They are both energized by and energizing to those around them. A social hoarder will take all that is offered to them – dinner invitations, sympathetic ears, compliments – but then make no attempt to reciprocate. Extroverts sometimes begin to see introverts this way, because they are so accustomed to larger gestures that they barely even notice the smaller ones introverts are able to make. In this way, both groups mistake each other for economical non-participants. This generates acrimony and eventually leads to economic shut down – i.e. the termination or dissolution of friendships.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

It's Me Manifesto

This is my real resume.
The one that I could never submit anywhere, because it wouldn't be taken seriously, despite the fact that it's the most accurate representation of me I think is possible in a resume.

Cover Page

I’m an introvert who taught herself to be an extrovert.
I could read when I was four years old and they felt they couldn’t justify keeping me out of kindergarten at that point. Smaller than my so-called peers, I kept my nose in a book and never developed social skills; if my family culture wasn’t against psychological diagnoses I probably would have carried the Asperger’s label before they retired it. I was painfully self-conscious and easily bullied. I dreamed of being a farmer so I could talk to animals all day and read books by myself at night, but when I was seventeen I made myself learn to talk to people so I could counsel rape survivors. I did that until I realized it was breaking my heart beyond repair, and then made a series of stumbling, pre-adulthood missteps that netted me a lot of experience and a lot of reason not to trust people.
Then almost without meaning to, I rediscovered what it was like to learn. And not just learn but absorb, to catch the thread of something interesting and grab and pull and follow until I could wrap myself up in it. My first attempt at college hadn’t gone so well, and I’d decided that I was just simply not meant to go to college, but I tried again and realized that I simply hadn’t been ready. Everything was there, waiting to be learned, and college was the excuse to do it. I threw myself into academia, made the Chancellor’s list every semester, and realized that, far from being able to hide in books, I needed to be able to communicate with people even more. Every day, every second was a test of adaptation and communication: if I do this right, if I talk to this person in just the right way, there’s no limit to what they can teach me.
I got an internship at the [leadership teaching place] because I decided to ask for one – there was nothing posted, I simply sent in my resume and said, “I would love to intern for you.” I didn’t know at the time what I was chasing; in hindsight I would say that it was only a natural that I move from learning about things to learning about learning, that I would migrate from writing papers about the innovation I could see on the page in the transition from Victorian to Modern British literature to working in a place where they literally study innovation. I made a conscious decision when I started to learn how to “network,” as they say, and what I’ve learned is that if you’re honest, and open to what other people have to teach you, people will notice.
I’ve learned that the world is a really cool place. There are ideas happening all over the world, all the time, and it’s not that all of them are good ideas - in fact a lot of them are pretty bad ideas - but it’s the fact that we, as humans, our natural state is to have ideas, to come up with new structures and new ways of explaining How Stuff Works, Why Stuff Works, and How We Can Make Stuff Better.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Sometimes when I go through my old notebooks, I find things.

Things I don't remember writing. I wrote this poem, once, apparently. 

The root of the problem
when squared
becomes the problem.
when squared
becomes a ghost.
Ghost, squared,
becomes also the root
of demon, which
is really only
malice, when malice
is squared.
The three dimensional square
(which is called a cube)
is sometimes called the world.
The shortest distance
between two points
is a human
with the training wheels off.
The training wheels
in this diagram
are called time
and also death.
A human needs time
and also death
like the three dimensional square
(which is called a cube)
needs the points
to become the triangle
it always dreamed of.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Things I Owe You Posts About (And Am Cheating On Writing Posts About By Writing This Post)

In the land of English Majors:
1). I eat meat now. This was a careful, reasoned decision that had many steps and eventually just came down to "overall body-feeling-better-ness."
2). I run in ZeroDrop shoes now. This was a careful, reasoned decision that had many steps and eventually just came down to "overall body-feeling-better-ness."
3). I am working diligently on a novel. This was not a careful or reasoned decision. It is necessary. I am a writer, damn it, and I need to write stuff.
4). New Tegan and Sara album so good. Listen to it forever.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Let's have some fun, this beat is sick.

Today, I had this revelation:
"What the world needs is a supernova talented white female rapper."

It's entirely possible I've spent the entire afternoon researching white female rappers since then. Here's my knowledge, now, so you can also know what you've been missing, and what is still clearly missing. And then you, too, will wonder: Whatever happened to IcyBlu?

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Logic of Walmart $5 4-Pack Movies

So I picked up this in the $5 at Walmart last night around midnight. (I adore Walmart at midnight. It's the perfect combination of seedy Walmart skulking mixed with seedy why-the-fuck-are-you-here-you-are-clearly-a-hooligan skulking.)
And I bought it for the sheer fact that it was the weirdest combination of movies I had ever seen. I needed to understand it, and I couldn't do that in the two minutes I could stand elbows deep in the $5 bin.

And after many hours of thought, I have figured out how this combo was decided.

1. Clearly, D.E.B.S. is the star of this show. It comes first, and also it occupies the prized position at the top of the case. So, we're meant to start with D.E.B.S., which if you're a lesbian you already know all about because Jordana Brewster is a lesbian criminal mastermind and it's awesome even though it's not exactly an Oscar contender.

D.E.B.S. is a movie about a group of 4 girls at an all-girls spy school, one of whom has a crisis of goody-two-shoesness when she falls in love with aforementioned Jordana Brewster Lesbian Criminal Mastermind. Chaos ensues. It's a spoof, and it also has Holland Taylor and Michael Clarke Duncan because, well, I don't know. I really like it but then I also really love Megapython vs Gatoroid.

2. So then, the next movie is Charm School. Charm School is in Spanish, with English subs. It's about a group of girls at an all-girls charm school, hence the connection to D.E.B.S. I haven't watched it, but according to the imdb blurb about it, it also has one 'bad girl' who leads the rest of the group in a kind of awakening/rebellion.

3. So then you think, okay, it's a pack of movies about school girls in short skirts. That's a bit obvious but okay. Nay, nay my friends. Too obvious and yet at the same time not as obvious as the addition of Feel The Noise.

Feel The Noise is about a guy. Yes, a guy. (I know, I'm disappointed, too.) This rapper has to GTFO of the Bronx (it has to be the Bronx because JLo produced it and she's still Jenny From The Block) so he goes to Puerto Rico and discovered Reggaton in the process.

So how the fuck does this fit? They speak Spanish in Puerto Rico, motherfuckers. The curators of this collection have determined that if you made it through Charm School, then you're open to "other cultures" and have gotten used to hearing the Spanish language.

This movie is in English, though.

4. NOW for the pi├Ęce de r├ęsistance. S Club 7: Seeing Double. Otherwise known as 'possibly one of the worst movies ever made non-ironically that of course I adore anyways because S Club 7 was my childhood JO FOREVER.'

How can you fit this movie in with anything, ever? How can you compare it to any other movie without laughing maniacally? (My favorite thing to do in my head is imagining having an earnest conversation where I claim that it's, "Just like Gattaca!")

At this point in the continuum of tenuous and far-reaching connections, it's simple: it has music in it.

And that's how this collection came together. That's its entire purpose in life: to get Seeing Double into a 4-pack. Preferably a 4-pack with a cult classic lesbian movie because Jo O'Meara is really super gay.