For All the Linguists

Stephen Fry Kinetic Typography – Language from Matthew Rogers on Vimeo.


Social Media: Hate the Player or Hate the Game?

I was thinking today about the joys of social media. I was tweeting from my work desk as usual. Catching all the news as it slips past my eyes. Replying and retweeting before the thoughts fell out of view. Then, I started to analyze my tone. Confidence seemed to pour out without interruption. Hiding behind my safety wall (the internet), I spoke as an untamed beast in the electronic jungle. It’s a shame the same confidence doesn’t transpire across the circuitry into the ‘real’ world.

There are very few times my true opinions flow flawlessly out of my mouth. I’m certain my body language isn’t communicating any bode of confidence either. But behind my pic and 140 characters, I speak with authority. The best part is, I can redefine myself every second. The speed of communication is fast enough that my thoughts are erased as fast as their processed. My identity online becomes a passing glance with every new tweet and post. I guess it’s good because you’re always redefining yourself, right?

I’m torn between whether online social interaction is a way to self discovery or mental trickery. Does it allow those who can’t express themselves in the ‘real’ world to find their ‘voice?’ Or does it create an alter-ego to struggle with as you move through these different realities? Smart phones must make it exceptionally hard for someone to balance themselves. Constantly switching between different persona just crossing the street. Who are you when you get to the other side?

Will all social interaction soon be held behind closed doors? I know a few people who prolong a face-to-face interaction because their online ‘game’ is so strong. I’ve even seen people instant messaging the person sitting across from them. I get it, it’s fun, but is it healthy? When do we learn to co-exist with each other? On the streets we are just passing glances. No one even wants to muster up the strength to thank someone. I can guarantee the people who shrug you in the subway would friend you in a second online.

I can only hope this new way of communicating is a means to an end. The old “knowledge is power” proclamation. If we know more about each other before we actually meet, it will make the courtship smoother, stronger. Who knows… At this point I’ve already lost most of my faith in mankind. Maybe this is just another drop in the bucket for a society which fails to understand itself. 

Lessons From Children

It’s amazing what we can learn from children. They are the last truth sayers we have. Children haven’t yet learned to lie, connive or cheat. Aside from their alternative motives when they want something, children say it as it is. I’ve had kids tell me when my breath stunk, when I was “so drunk” and how bad I make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Without fear of insult, rejection or controversy, the truth pours out from them. Is this something we as adults have lost?

I find myself locked in the confines of a world concerned with “saving face”, political correctness and diplomatic relations. When in fact, this theology does more bad than good. We delay the inevitable truth. Piling more and more bullshit on the situation until the methane ignites and showers the sky with flames. The newspaper is filled with stories of those who bury the truth. Digging a six foot grave at first, until it turns into 12, 24, 50 feet. Next thing you know your in above your head, lying with the worms and maggots.

It’s a shame responsibility, ownership and honor are things of the past. We’ve locked them in the vaults with our gold, muscle cars and social security. I guess some things don’t stand the test of time. This new era is meant for someone who can’t remember past things lost. It must be easy for those who never knew what a handshake meant or a promise. I can say from experience that it’s hard carrying those memories with me now into this new world.

Little did I know, high-school was preparing me for life. Notes in lockers turned to pink slips on desks, but at least break-ups still happen via text messages and people continue to talk behind your back…or over Facebook. I guess I’m a little prepared, but what’s going to happen when the new generation comes for me?

5 Types of Coffee Drinkers

The Slow Sipper

These patrons can be heard by their long, loud slurps. You can find them in the middle of large crowds so they can annoy as many people as possible. They look as though they are trying to suck the coffee right through the lid. Apparently these people have not upgraded to drinking glasses. They drink everything the same way. They carry their coffee lids to bars so they can continue to harass you after the work day is over.

The Deep Breather

These people exert all their energy taking a sip of coffee so that when they’re done they have to inhale deeply. After they come up for air they go back down into the cup for another. This type of cardiovascular activity promotes weight loss at the discomfort of all those around them. They burn more calories than most of us can hope for at the gym. Just another reason to want to smack these people upside the head.

The Sip-Stop-Sip

These coffee drinkers are in constant motion. Up with the cup, sip, back down, and up again, sip. Watching them is much like watching a tennis match or race. After a while you wonder when they will ever stop. They won’t. They take just enough coffee in to make them want more. You never know how much is left. You never know how much you can stand. Just up, sip, down, up, sip and continue. On and on throughout your whole ride until your ready to snap.

The Blow then Sip

These individuals definitely did not forget to read the ‘Caution This Beverage Is HOT’ label. In fact to them the warning is in effect forever. Coffee never cools for them. They blow into the extremely small hole in the lid thinking it will cool the beverage just enough to take a sip. They will continue to do this forever. Never ceasing to cool the world’s warm beverages. They stop at nothing to get the temperature perfect. Blow then sip, always fearful…to get burned.

The Moaner

These wonderful joys of life make you question where you even are. To them coffee is the ultimate erotic stimulant. Their deep passionate sips are finished off by a loud moan. Their heads are flung up from the cup and their hair thrown back. The look of pure ecstasy on their faces. You look down at your coffee and ask it why it’s holding back from you. Yes the moaner makes you feel uncomfortable, uneasy, and unsatisfied. May we all be that lucky one day.

5 Answers You Never Give Your Girlfriend

1. I thought…

Never say you thought something…anything. This automatically means you assumed. This is bad. Our job is to know, no matter what it is. Granted we know nothing most the time and struggle just to keep up. Never let them know you have no idea what’s going on. Your must dig down deep inside somewhere and come up with something. This is the point where instincts must take over. Make a decision and stick by it, rather than wondering what you’re supposed to do. Any action is better than nothing. Remember she is most likely going to get mad no matter what, but at least you will have something to stand on.

Her Reaction: Complete distraught and disappointment in the fact you don’t know her well enough. She will bombard you with sentiments such as whether or not it’s a good idea that you’re both together. Ranting of some sort will follow. Usually bringing up every wrong or indecisive decision you have ever made.

Remember: Full disclosure. Admit you are wrong. Admit you were wrong in previous times, but reiterate that you are trying. They like to see effort, even it is wrong. It shows you are making a real attempt and working on the relationship. Stay confident that you will get it one day. Just not today, or tomorrow rather. Actually, probably not for a while. BUT NEVER STOP TRYING.

2. Nothing

Never lead with a negative. This again is bad. Even if your sitting in your room starring at the ceiling wondering what color paint that is. A woman does not want to hear you’re doing nothing with yourself. She will automatically envision you laughing at the comic section of the newspaper on your mother’s couch when you’re 35. In fact, delete nothing from your vocabulary.

Usually when she raises a question that could condone a “nothing” she is giving you a hint that you are supposed to be doing something. Therefore get dressed and run out of the house at top speed. You won’t know where your going or what your going to do, but you will at least be able to answer back with something other than “nothing”. What follows here is up to you, but choose wisely. You are being judged.

Her Reaction: A proposal of something you should be doing, what you’re not doing, and/or what you could be doing. She will then tell you that she knows what you are doing. She will pry to see if you are doing something you shouldn’t. Hopefully you’re not because she will immediately know based on the pitch of your voice.

Remember: Stay confident. Make whatever it is you are doing seem like it’s REAL important. Even is she doesn’t understand, which she won’t, it is your turn to sell her on it. It is vital to make sure you have added her to the equation and you have her in mind. Simply saying, “I’m sitting here thinking about you,” will do in most cases.

3. I didn’t think…

Never admit defeat at first. You know you’re in the wrong, she really knows your in the wrong. However saying you didn’t think will enter you into an entirely new world of shit. A world you want no part of. Never rise suspicion that you did not think about her, something related to her, something related to something or someone she knows, or that you just didn’t think period. If nothing refer to numbers 1 and 2. At least in these cases you made a conscious decision to conduct some type of action, even if that action is nothing.

I know this is where things get complicated, but try to focus. Practice by telling yourself you are always thinking, always doing. Whether it’s physical or mental, you are at least preparing a defense of some sort. Therefore something, anything is better.

Her Reaction:
Repeating the words “You didn’t think”, with greater emphasis each time. She will move around the room at a faster than usual pace, still repeating the words. A look of disgust usually coupled with a once over glance as to signal that you’re a failure.

Remember: Do not say anything. She will expect a response, but you know better. Fight the silence, she will explain further. Only until you have all details and you feel confident with an answer, should you then speak.

4. Well my ex….

For this purpose you can also substitute, “well my mother…” Because to her the two terms are synonomous.

Why in god’s name you would even lead with this is beyond me, but it is a common mistake. In times of conflict we often immediately revert to a familiar reference. Sort of like a diversion to buy us time to come up with something better. However in doing so you ruined all rebuttals. I don’t know why you need to hear this, but no woman wants to hear about your ex or your mother for that matter. You must realized that when you signed up, you killed every female you have ever known. They are gone. Forget about them.

Her reaction:
A sudden flailing of the arm(s). An immediate about face position change where her back is facing you. Then, a raise of one arm in the position such as signaling for a right turn. Followed by silence. 

Remember: do not try to get back in front of her (unless your armed)

5. OK (sometimes translated as k) or FINE
We all know the effects of this. Women and men alike know that these words signal the end of all things. Whether it’s meant honestly or condescending, doesn’t matter. To utter these words to your significant other is a destroyer of worlds. The subtle expression casts a black cloud over the whole situation. In fact, work on deleting them from your entire vocabulary. Put them in the same waste pile as nothing, your ex’s and yes, your mother too.

Her reaction: You will begin to see the skin in the facial region get red. Her breathing will get heavy. She will almost seem as though she is about to have an asthma attack or choke. But what she is doing is brewing up a loud noise which she will ultimately unleash upon you. In most cases she will yell the same word back at you, with repetition. Followed by what can only be explained as some type of exorcism gone wrong.

Remember: she is not asking you to repeat. If you haven’t already, Run…very fast.

Further notes

  • Maintain communication…even if it’s distant and seems like it’s going no where.
  • Never leave the scene…unless the cops are being called
  • End every argument with a sentimental comment you both are comfortable with

Running of the Bulls

Here at the starting gate. The radiant crest of the sun peeks over the horizon. Its beauty lasts but an instant. As you gaze in witness of the world’s marvelous presence the sun’s rays blast you in the eye and your moment of clarity is stricken from you. “Back to the race,” it tells you.

At the blocks the runners in front take their positions. One look at them and you can tell they have been here many times before. Their time earns them the pole positions. The rest of us try shimmying are way in. Looking for a hole to squeeze our bodies into. Suddenly I am blasted back by a women twice my age. As I struggle for the words to say she glances back at me with a cold hardened stare. The words escape me as my pride and confidence can be seen jetting down the platform in the opposite direction. I get what I can in anticipation for the starting gun. I look down. I wore the wrong shoes.

The calves of the runners in front of me can be seen tightening up through their slacks and stockings. What have I gotten myself into? My stamina is no where near the levels of competing in such a contest. I don’t even know what I’m waiting for. A gust of wind slowly begins to pick up pace. I feel it wrestling through the blades of hair I worked so perfectly on. A slow roar can be heard in the distance. Immediately I fill up with nerves. “This is it,” I tell myself. The time has come. The thought of turning back doesn’t even resonate. By now my pride and confidence are on a bus back home where hopefully they will be waiting later. What I’m left with is a catatonic state of disbelief. Only hoping now that adrenaline takes over. My feet feel as if they have sunken deep into the cement under me. Golf shoes would help.

The wind marks the beginning and the howling roar is clear and present now. I can feel the vibrations beneath me. The gun is about to go off. As it does the runners spring from their positions. Going only a few inches, but doing so with such quickness and agility. As if pulled in by the force which has steamrolled through. A blink and they are gone. I look to my sides. I am the only one left. Am I ready for this?

No Rest For the Weary

No rest for the weary. There truly isn’t anymore. No one cares about the sick, tired, or pained. The world has no patience or sympathy for these people. They are a drudge on society and we do our best to exterminate them. Maybe not always in a physical sense, but in a mental sense. We tend to the sick and weary momentarily. I thought we were doing so because we were concerned and wanted to help. But it is all too clear now. We are merely taking time to evaluate their status. If they do not seem too far gone, we help fix them. Bandaging them up with hopeful words and homemade remedies. We caress them and wish them rest. As I said, I once thought it was because we might have cared. However we only wish them good health so as to return them to ‘normal’ working condition. Another sheep in the heard, another dog on the sled. For as if one of these parts goes down, the entire machine is at risk of collapsing. This is merely not an option. So we  take time to repair the broken parts. However if the fallen member of the team is too far gone or is taking too long to recoup, we badger them to health. Only a couple days do you get before subversive language and demands are thrown upon your weakened body. You are now coached back to good health, whether you like it or not. No leniency, the world has no time to waste on another. A decision must be made quick. If you will not return in time, a replacement must be sought out. But what then happens to you?

As if you were hanging on to the top of a slide you never wanted to go down in the first place, starring up at a bully who has left you know choice. You feel the weight of the world’s foot against your forehead as it abruptly pushes you off your grasps. Down the spiral slide you fall, missing level after level. All you have achieved suddenly sliding past your vision. The trip feels forever and all you can do is stare up and see everything you have achieved fall further and further into the distance. Because it does not matter what you have achieved to this point, only that you keep on achieving. There is no magical mountain top to strive for. The closer you get, the farther the mountain top moves towards the clouds. THEY planned it this way. We love machines so much because they never stop working. That is our malfunctions as humans. Contentment. We slow down or stop working once we have hit a certain level of achievement. Therefore in order to keep the world running, these boundaries must be extended until there is no end. Merely, a hamster inside a ball is what we are. Running until we smash our little, vulnerable faces  against the hard plastic and cannot run anymore. No reward, no praise, no memorial. Just switch the mouse out and throw you to the side wiith the rest of the carcasses.

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