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Seek Whence King

So I had another "I've been dumb for 30 years" epiphany the other day.

Credit for it goes to the movie "The Lookout", which is the story of a boy who injured the part of his brain that let's him easily "sequence" events. For instance, removing the keys from the ignition *before* locking the door, or remember to turn the burner on after soup has been dumped in a pan.

The movie itself is excellent, and I shan't spoil it for you further, as the above basic premise was what primed my realization.

So first, let's talk about the "S-word". It annoys me in so many ways. It actually describes very little, and in it's modern usage it means nothing other than "good", or, perhaps more correctly "better". I am absolutely loath to use it to describe myself, yet would confidently say it describes every single one of my friends.

The word is "Smart". And I've talked before about how I find this simple categorization maddening to ones identity, and I think I have a bit more insight as to why.

For much of my life, I've believed that your intelligence and yourself really are all intertwined. All bubbling and sparking together about in the big "dog's breakfast" (to steal a phrase from Mr Vonnegut) atop of my neck. This movie simply pointed out to me that incorrect assumption. That your reasoning ability is far better imagined as a virtual third hand. That without it you may be handicapped, but that's all it is, an evolved tool for helping you deal with the logistics of the world.

For so long I had assumed that the voices which prattled on the prescribed sequence of actions to a goal was, well, me. So it's hardly surprising to think that any such failing in that area would strike me raw and to the core. And while it's perfectly reasonable to find failure disheartening, interpreting it as a denouncing of your existence is, well, not healthy.

What's funny about this, is I'm not sure how far back in history I'd have to go to find someone make this same mistake. As far as I know the separation of the mind and soul has been "common knowledge" for centuries. It seems to me, that it is only recently, when they've both been pigeon holed back into the same bit of glop that such destructive assumptions as above can even begin to form.

If evolution has shown us one thing, it's that useful structures survive and propagate, and so it confuses me when so many people are seemingly eager to dismiss ideas that have survived for a very long time, merely because they aren't presented with a scientific pedigree.

pointless discourse (Follow-up)

A couple posts back I laid out some of my rather strong opinions regarding the etymology of the words "geek" and "nerd".

Well I'd like to point you towards another, similar but not congruent theory on the matter, that I think I may like better than mine.


Woke up to snow on my birthday, which I'm alright with.

In fact, I accept it as appropriate punishment for me having broken the unwritten MN rule of never complaining about the weather.

It was a moment of weakness which I apologize for. I have now regained my meteorological blase by accepting winter will never, ever end. That the spring is just a brief snowless fluke of the landscape.

So 2 months from now, when we are all assaulted at a July 4th cookout by an army of animated snowmen, I will only reply with the heaviest dose of complaint allowed:

"Cold 'un today."


I am older than I've ever been.

Ever since I read the book Orn as a youth, I was fascinated with the idea of how people change as they age, and what, precisely those different versions of themselves owed to one another.

I tried several times to even keep some sort of freehand journal each day so that I could have a record, of some sort, of what that "me" was like. My attempts almost always petered out within a few weeks, the small notebook lost to the flotsam. But now that I think about it, I guess I finally did actually achieve some sort of persistent record of them.

And despite Disney's best attempts to chew up and vomit this idea out in the form of a (presumably) terrible movie, I still enjoy this exercise. If only because it is one of the few purely scientific methods in which a theoretical "hell of moral relativism" might be possible if the "many-worlds" interpretation of quantum mechanics is correct.

One other strong conviction I held as a lad, was that it was vital that I remember the unique perspective children have on the world, and hold onto it, lest that viewpoint gets squeezed away over time until it is indistinguishable from the "agreed upon" view of the world.

One strong conviction I hold today, is that a lot of growing up is teasing out the bizzare beliefs about the world that you accumulated during your confused childhood, and correct them with more accurate views.

So, at the moment, I still believe both of those, largely contradictory statements. In fact, rereading some of my old blog posts, this conflict of opinions seems quite evident.

I have a confession. My goals in authoring this were largely selfish. It was my sincere hope that stating the issue in type would trigger a flash point of insight into the problem. At no point was my goal truly to entertain you, and for that I apologize. All the greater sin as my plan failed. And barring the sudden appearance of my elderly self who then turns my world upside down in a pop-music fueled montage illustrating the importance of 'being yourself", I lack a solution to my made-up and ridiculous identity issue.

Please accept this far more accessible discussion item:

Do you think a 30 year old can get away with wearing a baseball cap and hoodie anymore? That seems a bit old to be striving to be confused with a college student, right?

And now I'm even older.

Imagine how much more effective they'll be in 30 more years

I feel your furrowed glare each day, anxious and hungry to consume new content.

Sadly, I have nothing to say at the moment.

But perhaps these old Star Wars commercials might distract you from your disappointment in me, if only for a few minutes?

Tardy Ten Word Movie Reviews

In what may, or may not become a standard (crutch) feature, I will now review four movies which were released a comically long time ago, and yet I have only just gotten around to seeing.

For no particular reason, said reviews will be precisely ten words long.

There Will Be Blood

Lackadaisical plot. Abrupt ending. "Money is loneliness" theme redeemed it.


Precociously Indy. Owes Rushmore a lot. Grudgingly enjoyed it.

Alien vs Predator 2: Requiem

Surprisingly internally consistent and effective horror movie, unlike the original.

Michael Clayton

Announces deep truths via a "crazy" character. Likely Oscar contender!

Weariness with a chance of forlorn

A blizzard in the middle of April.

I'd like to point out that 5 months ago, I was complaining about how cold it was.

I give up, winter wins. I now understand why the old flee south.

I have many well rehearsed dinner party speeches about how Minnesota winters breed "hardiness" and how it's climate acts as incubators for a special sort of silent melancholy that is totally awesome and great... I'm not sure I can deliver them with the same simple-minded conviction anymore.

Sure sunlight hurts my eyes and flower and tree pollen make my nose stop working, but the alternating torment of the seasons is why I love Minnesota. Having to endure the same pain over and over eventually bruises the bone.

Appropriated Appropriateness

Along with making convincing small talk, today I noticed another chasm in my basic life skills. Picking out a Hallmark card.

It takes approximately 4 seconds in front of the the analog cardboard pixel display for panic and despair to set in.

Half the cards make me wince, a quarter of them just confuse me, several just make me downright depressed to be a human.

Some come close, but to me, buying these would just be worse than a completely non-sequitur card. Akin to greeting a long time acquaintance with a fake, practiced smile.

To be honest, up to this point in my life, a majority of the time I'd either forgo the card altogether, buy a neutral/blank one, or choose a random card which I then deface until appropriately sardonic. Which I suppose is cute the first couple times, but after awhile you have to wonder about whether I simply have an inability to express emotions in a straightforward way.

Although now we've taken a turn into Dr. Phil territory. If this was a real concern I'm sure there are books a plenty I could read on the subject of "communicating your emotions".

It's the five to ten minutes of me standing there, repeatedly asking myself the question "how do normal people do this?" that truly haunts me. To my knowledge they don't write self-help books on that.