Goodbye, old roommate. Hello new roommate. Oh! Hello, second new roommate.
Jerome got his bed yesterday. He was sleeping on the couch before that. He was sleeping in our apartment because he’ll be staying with us the next three months. Three months! This is Jerome (and this is Jerome en English). He is Quebecois, from Quebec City. An international traveler extraordinaire, he planned a three-month internship as a Mac developer, not to mention found a place to stay (with me), completely through Gmail. That’s impressive.
Jerome, meet Rhiannon. She’s our roommate—as of two weeks ago. Yup. She had to move three times in the past two months to find a place as good as ours. She’s planning on settling down and having some action figures. We met her at Bad Movie Night and kept coming back, long enough to make friends with the girl taking our $5 every week. Now it’s free for us. You can come too, Jerome, and be subjected to the horror that is “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry.” It’s ok, though! It didn’t actually win any Razzies, so that means it must be a good movie.
Nice to finally introduce you two. This place isn’t the cleanest in the world, now that our former roommate is gone. She sure liked that cleaning. So there’s some Dr. Pepper boxes that are being saved for no reason. We’ve got extra couches, now (not sure what to do with those). I’ll be the first to admit that there’s too many open projects to count. Expect things to be in unlikely places, like my hats on the couch or network cable strung up in the hallway. It’s a creative disorder, a constantly brewing ferment of materials and activities and ideas all swirling around in too small a space for their own good. Welcome.
A long while back, way in April 2004, I made a school project to impress a girl. +20 Dork points.
Good news and bad news about the outcome: it totally worked, she and everyone present thought it was a masterpiece. Even better, afterwards she wanted to get the software I used. From me. Bow-chicka-wow. Bad news: when I met her in the library, I acted the total dork-azoid. Had it not been for the timely appearance of my good friend Emily, I am certain I would have tumbled headfirst-chairlast into a piece of abstract art. Bad abstact art. Thankfully, Emily also gave us the topic of couples with matching hair (she and her dood both sported Pepé le Pew styles at the time—neither knew of the other’s current look until they first met—aww). The nervous klutz-ass factor, despite the presence of awesome friends, and combined with the fact the software later might’ve got that girl a virus (oops)… all of them accounted for why I didn’t do so well that season.
But that’s alright. I later learned on some pseudo-date with her roommate that she was a massive sto-o-oner rivaling Tommy Chong. Some things aren’t meant to be. Now that is hearsay and if you’re reading this, business major Maria X., you do have a chance to defend yourself. What totally reasonable explanation can you think of that we shouldn’t have worked out, other than the fact I acted like a ‘tard (the bad kind)? Cause that doesn’t count.
At least I got a movie out of it. It is what those involved in online, remix and collage culture might call a “mashup,” and what my parents might call “pretty neat.” Normal people might call it “putting the sound from one thing with the video from something else.” Your pick. Samples include:
The 1932 Disney classic (now public domain) “Flowers and Trees”
Air and Jean-Jacques Perry – Cosmic Bird
Malagena something mourning song
Secret Cheifs 3 – Dolorous Stroke
That’s all I have to say on that. I didn’t get the girl, but I did get the A+. Go figure.
I do not want your drama. Your drama irritates me, and makes me stressed out for things that are not my fault. If I were to make your drama into some sort of woodland creature, I would make it into a bear. A rabid bear. A rabid bear that is raging through the forest, knocking over trees and stomping other wildlife, growling menacingly at deers and chipmunks, until it makes it’s way to my house where it proceeds to abuse my floor and frighten my children and almost destroy it’s own damned TV. In this scenario, the bear has a TV. Let’s not really go into what’s actually happening with this obfuscated bear symbology. Let’s just say that a bear has entered my home, and the bear is quite terrifying. The bear wants me to pay more money to live in my apartment. The bear is going to lick it’s wounds and howl for long stretches into the night. The bear wants to borrow my cellphone, again, for the sixth time. I do not want to live with a bear. Also, I do not want to live with crazy people, who, in magnitude of disturbance to one’s wellbeing, is worse than a rabid forest-bear who drinks all my booze. No bears.
Cryptic messages are better. Better than just telling someone. If you just tell them, they’re all “why is this important? how does it affect me?” Now if you don’t tell them, then they’re all going to ask you, beg you to tell them. Cause obviously there’s a good reason you aren’t telling them.
More Than Human was a good book. I can understand why it came recommended. Mating Mind, while also a good book (I’m guessing) did not come as a recommendation. It came as a lucky charm. I didn’t read it all the way through, cause that book already gave me what I needed a long while ago. And it did that by granting me just enough smarts and insight to influence human events.
Whoa… wait, what? That’s right—influence human events. Not Machiavellian machinations, but memes between me and she-who-knows. Powerful transmissions between us transmuted into something else. Our brains interfaced on a level commensurate with the venerable 28.8 modem at first, and then we upgraded to wireless ISDN. Which—granted—isn’t the best service but if you live in Belize who’s going to complain? This’d be fine if I could read her blog (and by blog I mean mind) across town. But wireless service isn’t that great in Belize.
To stretch an already thin metaphor across a perilously dumb (Central American?) chasm, we file-shared. We traded ideas. We’d sit around going “Oh, have you heard of this?” “Do you know about that?” “How about other thing?” It got to the point where our… our “pings” were just… what’s true computer jargon for ‘clogging up the hard drive till you just really have to defrag cause you’re unwilling to delete all those really good, but infrequently-listened-to electronic/ambient tracks?’ That. We had that. Then I started reading “The Mating Mind,” synthesized it with my own experience, and wrote out what is I daresay a rather entertaining little essay. Proud of that.
Call it a confirmation bias, but it changed the whole tone and our… our talking, it took on a different character. Less communicating and more communication. Actually received a genuine transmission in the form of a book—sure you could guess which one by now. And I read it. And I’m done with it. I liked it, I liked what it said about the person on the other end of the line, but it didn’t change the fact that nowadays me and she-who-knows aren’t exactly practicing telegraph operators. So now I’m done, and now what?
Later today I’m returning the Mating Mind back to the library whence it luckily found me. Gluttony is a vice, you know… even for information. And the other book? Well, haven’t figured that out yet. But I’ve been getting an idea. Not on the internet, not in science fiction books loaned to you by nerdy girls, is anybody familiar with real psychic transmissions?
Suppose you take a few species of apes that lived in Africa about ten million years ago. Think of these species as nearly identical, but seperate populations. Now turn loose on each species the force of runaway sexual selection—an evolutionary positive feedback loop of genetic traits and the mating preference for those traits. One species might develop a runaway preference for large muscles, and turn into gorillas. Another might develop a runaway preference for constant sex, and turn into bonobos. A third species might develop a runaway preference for intelligence, and turn into us.
Intelligence is a fitness indicator, which might be why we have it. Animals use them to judge potential mates. The brain—like a gigantic shiny colorful tail—is a good choice. It’s sensitive to the animal’s condition, it’s hard to fake, and it’s a pretty good show of what sexy genes you have. A mind gets pretty screwed-up if you have a screwed-up existence—and crazy isn’t sexy. Conversely, a good mind is, and it shows. Story-telling, humor, playfulness, creativity, wit, kindness, a broad vocabulary, social savvy, imaginative problem-solving, and refined taste are all mental fitness indicators used by humans. All these sexy personality traits lead to more sexy persons, the better brain genes making minds bigger and better.
That’s the idea behind Geoffrey Miller’s The Mating Mind, in particular the chapter appropriately called “A Mind Fit for Mating.” Pages 77 and 111 are partially (and liberally) paraphrased above. His hypothesis is that our swollen primate cerebellums are the result of a sexual fetish preference our ancestors were lucky enough to stumble upon. And because our courtship (and brain evolution) got so carried away with itself, we very accidentally discovered all these really cool survival mechanisms like agriculture, language, architecture, metal-working, medicine, and the other stuff you can research in Civilization. Even more astounding is that all the quintessentially human self-expressives like literature, art, philosophy, music, dance, and making comic books are for mating purposes just ornamentation to show off our big sexy brains.Sexy brains read more of my blog.
The subtitle of this entry is “a fine example of the problems with revealing personal experiences in a public forum, especially as relates to sexual equality and hot chicks in the 21st century.”
So I met this girl last Thursday. Mary Catherine. She’s Irish, full of spirit and sprite and more than a little bite. Master’s degree, English lit-er-a-ture. Carried around Jane Eyre the whole time I knew her, and had the romantic inclinations to match. We met not at a bar, but walking home from one. Thank God for girls with a poor sense of direction (and the male protection mechanism that helps their sorry situation). If not, I doubt that I’d have known her outside of a hostel stairwell. As it was, we feverishly debated feminism and modern sexual equality for the next hour. This is sometimes called “foreplay.” I was the first American with whom she could hold a conversation (so she said), and she spent a year in New York. This says a lot about me but perhaps more about New York.
By round about 2 o’clock, when all the others arrived home from the barbary-coast brewery/bar, I’m content to think I had her English-lit educated, female-favoring Gaelic greymatter headily haywire, helped certainly by our intermediate intoxication. Jane Eyre is justifiably lambastable—melodramatic moth-magnet that it is—necessitating nearly not-nice opining on my part. Being quite respectable, she took umbrage (very well). XXX yakking zinged zealosly zereafter.