Monday, February 22, 2010

List Countdown

This is a post about lists and ten hopefully interesting personal feelings I have about lists.

10. If I see a list that is a countdown--especially with ten or less items in it--I feel extremely curious and am drawn into reading it.

9. If I see a post or article with a list in it--and the items on each list are two or less sentences--I tend to gravitate toward it, and am more likely to finish it.

8. However, if the items in the list are longer (say a paragraph or two) I am immediately turned off and am less likely than ever to read it.

7. If one of the items in the list has an eye catching word or phrase that I have personal interest in, I always want to see what it is saying. (these include names, book titles, and songs like,






6. If there is a space between each item, I feel like it's more readable.

5. I always feel productive when I write lists, but I also feel productive when I read lists. It gives me a specific number of facts I have newly learned.

4. I think that newspaper or magazine article (and especially blogs) that are entirely in countdown list form are more widely read.

3. I tend to "take the writer's word for it" more when reading a list.

2. I've found list writing to be a destructive habit when it comes to listing things I want to do. I often (subconsciously) feel that, when a goal of mine is written down on paper, it'll just hop right off the page and go get itself done.

1. I feel satisfied when I reach the end of a list. I think everyone does.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Cookie Cutter

This story is fictional, it does not represent the views of Carl's Jr. Inc or any of it's subsidiaries. My agenda is also, in no way, to promote any animal rights interests or anything like that. It's just a story.

Sitting at a Carl's Jr table--moodily observing the costumers that I would be cleaning up after when I returned from my thirty minute lunch break--a boy of about seven to nine caught my eye. He was keeping a prudent distance from his party (a small family consisting of himself, two parents and a baby) and sporting a bright blue beanie, an over sized dark green long sleeved tee--with the sleeves pushed up past the elbows, and light tan shorts; his wardrobe was obviously of his own design and he seemed to have a damned high opinion of it (in spite of what his mother may have said before they left the house). He was staring at me with his mouth slightly ajar (as only boys of seven to nine who dress themselves can stare at seventeen to twenty year old boys) and continued to do so for a few moments after I started watching him. Realizing I was returning his stare, he hurriedly looked away, straighted his posture (and his dignity), and silently told me with an offended sideways glance that he could not help his being seven to nine and that any judgements I passed on his age and lack of facial hair would only result in loss on my part.
Losing interest for the moment--and not wanting to injure the pride of any more pre-pubescent adolescents--I began staring out the window and contemplating more global issues--such as how one might elude washing the lunch dishes. I was interrupted in the middle of a scheme--which included faking some sort of skin disorder--by a loud and embarrassed reply by the afore mentioned boy to his mother's question as to whether he'd like chicken stars,
"No I don't want any stars!"
"Well would you like a hamburger?"
"No! I'll just have some fries." and with that the boy moodily stomped off to the farthest table from any of the resaraunts other inhabitants.
I promptly forgot about the incident, finished my modest lunch, and returned from break.
About half an hour later--after having failed in eluding the dishes--I was pointed, broom in hand, toward the lobby, and sent on my way. I marched to my usual starting point for this chore--the children's playland--and began my task. I was going about my business under the impression that I was alone in the room--a fact with which I was mildly pleased--so I was startled, and slightly put off, when I heard a sigh emmiting from the other side of the play structure. I shifted my thoughts to more "others-are-in-the-room" topics and continued my sweeping. Upon reaching the inhabited end of the room, I saw that the occupying individual was none other than the seven-to-nine year old boy, looking sullenly out the window into the parking lot. However I did my best to ignore his presence and went about my business. When I breached a seven foot proximity to the boy, he looked up at me, slightly surprised to see me there. I gave him a nod, and, after a few moments, added a how's-it-going. He grunted in reply and returned looking out the window, then he added--not as one who wishes to criticize, but as someone who wishes to make up for a grunt of a reply with some offhand observation--"Your guy-ses fries aren't very salty."
I stopped sweeping and leaned on the broom (in a manner that has, no doubt, ruined many a good broom at restaurants all over the globe). I told him that I was aware of the fact and that I shared his distaste for under salted fast food. I also added--this being something that I had actually spent some time thinking about--that when I was cooking fries, there was, by no means, any shortage of salt on them. He broke a small smile and asked me if I cooked often.
I explained to him that I was being trained to become a shift leader and I cooked once or twice a week, I was also about to divulge to him the ruthless manner in which certain people were prone to take advantage of shift-leaders-in-training, but, remembering his age, I spared him the ramblings of an angst-riddled employee.
He was silent for a moment, then as if he had remembered something, his face turned into a scowl and he looked out the window. I awkwardly resumed sweeping.
The boy suddenly exclaimed, without turning his head, in a high voice, "How come you cut the chicken into stars!?"
His sudden outburst caught me off-guard and I fumbled out an explanation about our lack of control concerning how chicken nuggets arrived to us. The boy continued to look out the window, obviously absorbed in his own thoughts. He then quietly explained, more to himself than to me,
"I mean, I like chicken, I always get the chicken nuggets at other places, but they don't really have a shape, you know? It's like, when they're stars, they're cookies or something, but it was a chicken once, you know? Cutting its body into some cutesy shape just freaks me out a little, is all..."
I was about to mumble some reply, but was cut short by the boy's mother entering the play place.
"Come on now, it's time to go, let's let the nice sir finish sweeping."
The boy got up from his perch, and began walking out, head down and hands in pockets, but before he was able to leave the room I called after him, "Hey, kid!"
The boy looked back at me surprised and almost frightened looking.
"I'm with you, man." I finished.
The mother looked at me awkwardly as she left the room, but the boy laughed and ran out of the building, beaming.
The sun shone through the window, revealing a few fries scattered around the window area. I swept them into the dustpan and moved on.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Great Scene

I was trying to write a blog post on this scene, but I watched it and decided it speaks best for itself.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Silly Grown Ups

It often happens, whilst we travel down the road of life, that we find that trite old platitudes that we scoffed at, actually turn out to be quite true, however, some, when observed for any length of time, we find are actually pretty ridiculous. This is the case for one such saying, which someone pointed out to me a while ago (I can't for the life of me remember who, and it's bothering me terribly).
"Friends don't let friends do stupid things."
Friends actually let friends do LOTS of stupid things, despite what parents, teachers, scout masters, dare advisors, seminary instructors, and that guy who talks to you in junior high assemblies will tell you. The fact is when someone is your friend they usually want to do the same things as you do and have roughly the same capacity for intelligence. Friends are the people who usually don't bother you about your grades, chores and homework. Not to say that a friend doesn't sometimes fill the roll as a mentor or guide, but usually at that point they are doing just that, filling a different role.
I dunno, maybe I'm wrong. It just seems to me that real friends be themselves around you, for better or worse. Maybe even trying to put a label on what makes a friend is ridiculous, I don't know. I'm just saying...

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Categorical Imperative

I've had a few ideas for different blog posts, but I've found that many of them lead back to what is called the Categorical Imperative. So I've decided to just explain this concept, and hopefully it will aid those who frequent this blog (Pat and Dax) in better understanding crap that I may post in the future.
First of all, the Categorical Imperative is one of Kant's theories (it is, in fact, the fulcrum of the moral branch of his philosophy). The principle is this: Always act according to that maxim whose universality as a law you can at the same time will. Now I know that this is one of those really long sentences that you don't feel like tackling right now, but before you go back to tetris, let me try and explain it more clearly. What it is saying is, that you should only do something if you think it would be good if everyone were to do the same thing. An example of something that would not work under the Categorical Imperative: you want to borrow money from a friend, you tell them you'll pay them back at the first opportunity, however you know that you have no intention of paying them back at all. If we put this into the formula we see it cannot work; if everyone were to ask for money without intending to pay back their debtors, not only would no one get paid back, but no one would lend money because everyone would know that everyone was lying. Lying is something that only works when the majority of humanity doesn't lie about the majority of things.
Now for the sake of not making this an overly lengthy post I'm going to end things here. It should be known that this isn't quite the full concept of the c-i, but it is a crucial idea to grasp. If you want to know more about it here's a link to follow, I'll probably be posting more about this sort of stuff in the future.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Brothers Karamazov

Okay, I admit it's long, and it's no book to pick up unless one happens to have ample reading time, but if you ever happen to be able to read Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov I highly recommend it. It really gives voice to many thoughts that I think we've all had, but that I have never heard expressed coherently. I'll spare you further review (People raving about their most recent obsession can be pretty tiresome).

Monday, February 1, 2010

Goodbye, Buddy

J.D. Salinger's books changed my life, and even though he wan't publishing anymore, while he was still alive I felt like his works were still continuing. His death marks a definite end to his writing. So I suppose my sadness at his passing is rather selfish, but for what it's worth, I felt like Buddy Glass what my friend, and I'll miss him.