30 Sep 2006, 11:16am

The Existential Dinner Guest






(Just had to get that post title out of my head.)

28 Sep 2006, 10:36am

Contact is a Habit

An obstacle to staying in touch is remembering when there is an opportunity. You think of the person when it’s too late or too early to call. You think of an email to send when you aren’t at the computer or a phone call to make when you don’t have the number on you. It helps to take the time if you’ve got yourself set up with the means to make it easy.

Alexander Seinfeld’s system could help make it easy. (Gotta love his blog name The Art of Amazement :)) He gave 100 people 1/2 of a blue index card and this challenge:

“Can you think of 5 people with whom you know you should be more in contact? Could be a neighbor, a cousin, a former co-worker, anyone! Please write their names on this card and stick it in your wallet.

Then, next time you find yourself in line at the grocery store trying not to look at the magazines, pull out this card and your cell phone and make a call. Let them know that you’ve been thinking of them, find out what’s going on in their life.”

Can you name 5 people whom you know you should be more in touch with? Can you inspire someone else to name 5?

Glad Game: Silly ole cat pouncing my desk to rub noses with me.

Drizzle. I love drizzle. It’s like ocean spray.

Walking through the public courtyard in the rain. Two people are under metal steps talking. As I pass, a male voice says. Don’t worry we’re not trolls. I laugh and a female voice laughs after.

A wacon tablet is pretty cool. It’s quite brush-like.

Fresh bakery bread for breakfast.

Making all my errand rounds with time to spare.

Tipping over in an effort to put on my shoe while searching my bag for my key and in the process falling against the doorframe, jangling the key already in my “handy” pocket.

Working up a good sweat on the elliptical.

Library requests coming in.

Email from a friend.

27 Sep 2006, 8:55am
Equity Light Poets

Knee-Deep in Diverting Links

The last post was a bit too long and all-over so I’ve cleaved off the link chunk of poetry, lit and fluffy stuff and put them together here.

From the Top 20 strangest guitars, it has no body and uses two cylindrical resonators, which can be changed at any time.

Women Links: Top Freedom promoting women going topless anywhere a man would, shirtless as Canadian Tire attire perhaps. Perhaps a bit moot here as its now to nippy to go out without a coat but…to go to the opposite extreme of desexualizing breasts — Illuminated Bras just in case they could be missed otherwise.

Elsewhere, Jordan Matter does a portfolio of people photos, in everyday situations, where women just happen to be topless. He has a portfolio of head and should shots and other themes too.

And to keep abreast of other matters that matter…

Poetry Link: Random Acts of Poetry is next week, October 2-8. See last year they did it too.

Poetry Link II: Poets can get up to all manner of hijinks. In October dress as a line of Wallace Stevens poetry, “Your disaffected flagellants, well-stuffed,” perhaps as bananas and “[t]heir musky and tingling tongues” or “The cowl of winter, done repenting.”

Special Occasion Link: It’s Banned Books Week. Will you read something evil? 😉

Toy: Panic Button from I Want One of Those

YouTube Link: Salmon Rushdie discusses his new book Shalimar the Clown about the character experiencing education camp.

26 Sep 2006, 9:05am

Reading Faces: Facial Action Coding

Are you good at reading faces? What do these 5 mouths express?

We are social animals and generally we can even know how a stranger is feeling from small signs.

One makes decisions in a heartbeat for broad strokes — nervous or playful, organized or undisciplined, sarcastic or…you get the idea. In Blink, Malcolm Gladwell talks about reading people in the context of thin-slicing, i.e. to use your instinct and experience to immediately size up a person or situation. It’s remarkably accurate if you only have a few seconds.

What about little stuff of particular words and moments?

On his website Gladwell reprints an archived article he wrote for the New Yorker on a study reading faces in a lab. People were asked to either narrate accurately or deliberately lie on tape. Other people (policemen, customs officers, judges, trial lawyers, and psychotherapists, F.B.I. officers, etc) were brought in to pick out the lies.

The task of spotting the liars turns out to be fantastically difficult. There is just too much information–words, intonation, gestures, eyes, mouth–and it is impossible to know how the various cues should be weighted, or how to put them all together, and in any case it’s all happening so quickly that you can’t even follow what you think you ought to follow.

On average, they scored 50%, which is to say that they would have done just as well if they hadn’t watched the tapes at all and just guessed.

But every now and again– roughly 1 time in a 1000 –someone scores off the charts.[…] a handful of people are virtuosos. What do they see that we miss?

Facial muscles move in universal ways. Ekman and his colleagues work with a Facial Action Coding System (FAC). It is the study of how our face muscles move. People, after hundreds of hours, can learn to cut through the perceptual clutter, hone in, in a heartbeat, to get the results that these virtuosos do naturally.

What difference does reading faces make? Ekman, the expert in FAC, “compares it to the way you start to hear a symphony once you’ve been trained to read music: an experience that used to wash over you becomes particularized and nuanced.

I’m not totally sold on it but I’d like to keep an ear out to hear more.

Training Link: In under an hour, METT promises to train anyone to move in the right direction to see very brief (1/25th of a second) microexpressions, and understand those flashes of concealed emotion. SETT teaches you to recognize the subtlest signs of when an emotion is first beginning in another person. The Facial Microexpressions Training CD sounds intriguing.

Light Link: Artnatomia of art anatomy.

Soundtrack: The Gambler.

Body Language Book Links: The Definitive Book of Body Language by Pease and Pease, Telling Lies by Ekman, Silent Language by Edward Hall and Gender Advertisements by Erving Goffman.

Featured Quote: “To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly.” ~ Henri L Bergson

25 Sep 2006, 5:36pm
Comments Off on Change of How You Think About It

Change of How You Think About It

Stylistic warning: this post is going to be free form. aka free association therefore, um, not linear. Good for clearing out the pipes now and then.

Sometimes you wonder how you have lived as long as you have and never bumped into certain things, ideas, people, cultural point, factoid, what-have-you that throws life into new light and proportion.

It’s like a parallel universe half a step left or right that you never see because you don’t step left or right. You stand engaged on or around the arbitrary coiled line you’ve laid for yourself to walk on, trip on, loosely hog tie yourself with…oof, ar, mphff, ah.

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