*we put the "mmm" in communism


This is the personal blog of Tim. Here, Tim writes on anything he has enough inspiration to finish a post on. That usually ends up being matters of science, pop culture, technology, religion, and philosophy.

This blog is around nine years old, which is over a third of Tim's current age. Back in 2003, it was called "Of Tim: Tim's life - or lack thereof", and it was as bad as you might expect the blog of a freshman in high school to be. Tim hopes that his writing is a little better, these days.

Tim welcomes any input that you, the dear reader, might have. Comments are very much appreciated, especially if you have a dissenting opinion. If you'd like to learn more about Tim, you might want to see his facebook or google+.

Also: Tim is a very avid consumer of various sorts of music. You may be interested in his playlists!

offensive perhaps
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To anyone who is deeply insulted by the mention of poop, feces, or the act of defecation, I sincerely apologize for this post. It is rife. Really, really rife.

Of late, I've found myself pondering a large number of bizarre alternate reality scenarios, spurred on by my increasing awareness of how arbitrary many of the things we do are. There are innumerable ways in which the world could function differently. The differences might even be sub-optimal for efficiency of purpose, but the same could be true of our world as it stands now. A huge number of our actions are fundamentally born of tradition; they aren't necessarily based off of a rigorous formula of logic, effectiveness, or functionality, but often times can instead be traced back to tradition. Easy example: very few people use forks and knives because they've analyzed all of the various eating utensils and have deduced that forks and knives are the superior tool for consuming food. Tradition and convenience are ultimately what have lead us to forks and knives (among many other things), in the 21st century.

Resisting the forces of conformity is arguably the most inconvenient choice we can make. People often use conformity as a dirty word, but it's just an easy way of describing the least disruptive path of action in any given situation. Disruptive can be good or bad - it's all contextual. Social pressures aside, even the physical infrastructure of society enforces or discourages practically every type of behavior. With this in mind, I once asked of my friends while we sat in a food court eating our dinner: what if societal norms dictated that we ate alone and pooped together?

Think of all the ways that society would be different.

* Dining rooms and bathrooms would have their roles entirely reversed.
* Perhaps it would be normal to cook together, but once all the food has been prepared, everyone would split off into their personal dining rooms. Since people eat alone, it is likely that eating habits would be pretty uncivilized. Cutlery and napkins would probably not be in high use, since no one's there to criticize methods of eating. It's not like anyone's ever taught the "right" way to poop.
* Food would probably be valued more for its effects on defecation than for taste. Realistically, this could be a very viable way of following what your body needs most!
* Conversation about pooping would very certainly be open and frank. People would not laugh at poop jokes. People would laugh at eating jokes.
* Toilets would absolutely be mobile. Toilets might even be integrated into cars, movie theaters, and meeting rooms. High-powered meeting with the CEO? More like high-powered pooping.
* Fast food restaurants? More like fast poop restaurants.
* You know that romantic comedy you love, where they're eating dinner in a fancy restaurant? Yeah, in this world, they're just pooping. Together. Chew on that for a minute.
* Those awkward times when you accidentally walk in on someone in the bathroom? They wouldn't be pooping. They'd be eating.

I feel like the first question someone would ask in response to reading something like this is: why does this question matter? It's a fair question, given that the subject of this post is purely hypothetical and, on the surface, offers very little in terms of insight about the real world. Or does it?

Personally, in imagining how utterly ridiculous the world could be, I more readily see how ridiculous the world actually is. Have you ever seen a platypus? Do you know how bonkers quantum physics is? How weird is it that our chief sign of public romantic affection is kissing? Think about the act of a kiss! Describe it in words, out loud, and it can very quickly reveal its true nature as an incredibly bizarre behavior. Our world is, without a doubt, completely and utterly ridiculous. It's also amazing, and the more I learn of it, the more enthralled I become with the opportunity to experience it to the fullest extent possible.

My consumption of nature documentaries these last several months has been nothing less than voracious, and my appetite for knowledge seems to compound itself as I feed it more. I only wish this hunger had started sooner.

Tunng - Bullets
- youtube

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is probably the most sophisticated poop joke you'll ever get from me.
posted by MC Froehlich at with 0 Comments
variety pack
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This is a collection of things I've written in my phone at various moments. These are in chronological order from when I got the phone, so it represents a bit of my stream of consciousness over the past year.

* Perhaps part of my disbelief has to do with the discovery that just about everything that people do has a rational explanation, and that there is no need for a supernatural element to understand my life or any other person's.

* In holding disdain for people who give in to certain aspects of pop culture by attaching implications of attitude and values to specific products, brands, labels, and styles, we commit the same error as they do by believing that these have any meaningful connection to personal character.

This sprung from a surge of hipster-hate in my social circles.

* It's easy to confuse a desire for certain feelings and emotions with a desire for the people once attached to those emotions.

* Rather than feeling resentment or envy when witnessing romantic love, we should grateful for the presence of something so beautiful, and rejoice in it.

It can get very lonely when all the people in my house are gone. I have learned that I am highly dependent on regular, quality socialization.

* I am glad knowing that I am the person that I hope to become.

I was very proud of myself when I acquired that last job.

* The things that make this job better don't seem to contribute much to overall happiness.

The novelty wore off after two months.

* Write a story centering around a reality where snow is the color of tar.

Walking almost two miles in the snow to go to job you hate brings on thoughts like this.

* Every smell unlocks a memory nearly forgotten. It's a bittersweet thankfulness that I haven't forgotten, tainted by the lack of recent, powerful memories to fall back on.

* My sense of place has been completely destroyed. What do I do when there is no one and nothing to indicate what the best decision is. It seems as though there are only worse options, standing in this dim light.

This was around Christmas. That job really made the future look very grim. There's nothing quite as confusing as being told that you smile too much.

* Even the stories you thought perfect have been ruined. What is your hope now?

A friend of mine nearly captured what I thought was the perfect fairy tale romance. I was really crushed when I saw it didn't work out.

* Hunger is a constant reminder of what life will be like if I fuck up again.

I'm grateful to have experienced the hunger that I did, but I don't want to do it again. Kind of like the psych ward.

* Currently, I live in a world designed for my demographic. What will my outlook on the world be when I am no longer a part of the target demographic everywhere I go?

I walk through downtown every day to go to work. There's a shop with this mannequin in this really amazing dress, posed really elegantly. While that dress isn't made for me, it is very clearly made in the fashion of women my age. I had a brief thought of how sad I would be if the mannequin were dressed in something I didn't like. What if, 20 years from now, the mannequins are dressed in clothes I hate, but the generation after me loves? Will I like the world less? Will I care at all?

* Everything that can be said about capitalism's virtues can also be said of war.

This is an undeveloped thought that occurred to me during a discussion about the merits of libertarianism. I might run with it in the future.

* What if music appreciation is strongly linked with sense of time and consistency of assessment?

I still don't know why I love techno so much.

* I don't imagine the things that I do being able to be described as smelling like a skunk.

I get very concerned when people describe my living space as being smelly. A welcoming smell is, to me, quite important. I know the gross feelings that accompany spending time in a smelly house, and I wouldn't want that for the people I bring to my home.

* Don't ever think of yourself as replaceable.

I had a rather morbid thought: if I died right now, the world would lose nothing more than an office worker. A new one would be doing my job in a month. It made me very angry to think about my worth being measured in those terms.

* Ask why more often. We should want to know other peoples' justifications.

People don't demand enough of each other. While I trust my friends' judgment of quality, I should also want to know the reasoning by which they made those judgments. Simple, really.

* Imagine your feet in place of someone, here, a thousand years ago.

* By making your feet like the terrain beneath you, the painful parts become normal, and the outliers become a pattern of delicate intricacies that can in no other way be known.

Barefoot walking/running has invoked some weird thoughts. It gets very zen after 5 minutes of walking on sharp gravel. That's about as best as I can describe it.

* When faced with sharks, it is advantageous to have another shark with which to beat another shark. Having a shark is better than not having a shark. In this way, survival rate increases with number of sharks.

My logic is impenetrable.

* The thought of experiencing it.

So much of my head is filled with thoughts of experiences.

* There's a woman out there that you want. Go find her.

I get like this when I see a uniquely beautiful woman.
posted by MC Froehlich at with 1 Comments
what if
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What if men of the future run for president decades in advance

What if they would troll forum after forum, talking themselves up and saying their name over and over again to the rhythm of a popular pop song

What if they would viral market themselves into popularity

What if presidential candidates' names turn out to be consistently similar to the sound of the word for a kind of rare species of giant squid and land-faring dolphins

What if parents started naming their kids after obscure things to increase their chance at achieving the presidency

What if volcanoes were the primary source of energy for modern american homes

What if it was cool to say very few things

What if our movies were considered too loud for comfortable viewing

What if electric skateboards outnumbered shoes

What if it was expected to name commonly used inanimate objects after fruits and sometimes vegetables

What if trampolines and zip lines were a popular mechanic for going downtown

What if there was some kind of bizarre malfunction plaguing everyone because of the prevalence of this new mode of transportation

What if there were many kids orphaned by this disorder, and it was hailed as an epidemic and there were charity dinners and the space-president might have said a word or two

What if lawyers were people who interpreted the stupidly complex things people say and write down what they're saying in a way that uses shorter words and less run-on sentences

What if electric triangle were the hip new instrument to play

What if a new type of mental disease causes people to exhibit bird-like behavior

What if Chinese restaurants look exactly the same

What if a popular show centers primarily on elderly ballet dancers

What if they created an airborne drug that does nothing but cause a person to move in ultra slow motion

What if people got "slowed" at school by douchey classmates

What if you could buy slowbombs and throw them at unsuspecting pedestrians and watch them react at you for an hour

What if it was kinda normal to never talk about death with your parents, like it is with sex

What if it became a societal issue where people weren't prepared for death

What if Trojan were a company that helped draft wills

What if hipsters often went to random funerals, and this act was known colloquially as funeral-surfing

the world could be a very scary place

this post was inspired by this picture

Digable Planets - Cool Like That
- youtube
posted by MC Froehlich at with 2 Comments
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This is a post that I started (but never finished) last August, shortly before I departed from my job at Optimal Purchase. It struck a rather potent chord with me, now that I can reflect on what that choice eventually led to.

"Zefrank had a rather delightful little question recently:

'You partake in a medical experiment. In the experiment you are given one of two pills. You don't know which one until after you take it. One shortens your life by 10 years, and the other lengthens your life by 10 years. You have just found out which pill you took. The question is: which pill do you think will increase the quality of your life the most? Would one make you change the way you live your life more than the other?'

The answer is rather slippery. The obvious "trick" to the question is that most people would be pressed to make more of the time they have if they discovered they had less of it available to them; thus, the life-shortening pill would be more beneficial. This assumes, however, that the person is not already making the most of their time. What is "making the most", then? Certainly, there is no limit to how well one can spend any given amount of time, so we can't say that such a person wouldn't be further enhanced by the life-shortening pill. Yet it's a difference of twenty years that's at stake, and a great many things can be accomplished and experienced in that time. I feel strongly that I am making excellent use of my time, currently - but will I look back in a decade and say the same?

Regardless, it's in the shadow of such thoughts that I depart from a job that I have kept for nearly ten percent of my total lifespan. I've lived out hundreds of hours in a patch of 500 square feet that has not changed a bit, that is still no more my own or in any way connected to me than when I started. It feels as though I became marvelously good at building sand castles right on the shore. A trophy that other beach-goers will appreciate, but at the end of each day I walk away with little of substance to show for my hard work."

It's a funny thing, looking back. I was certainly convinced that I was on the right path, but the choices I ended up making were at times hilariously poor - and I mean really poor. I can't say I feel bad about it, though; the process of learning precisely how much of a fool I can be is highly rewarding in its own way. I am forever cycling between emitting excessive bravado and being acutely humbled before circumstances and people I once thought myself much greater than. This cycle is probably the only thing that keeps me from turning into a giant, oozing douche.

I rather like the direction everything has taken. I think I've finally begun to move away from judging myself as a enormous bag of potential and testicular fortitude to something a little more practical. I still have my classic delusions of grandeur rolling around in the back of my mind, but I don't feel that those cravings for extreme success are what primarily drive my behavior. Life has become less of a pursuit of an ideal that I think it should conform to, and more about tweaking the pieces that don't fit quite right. With some critical examination, I realize what a sodding megalomaniac I've been (and still am, in some ways). I genuinely believed that all of my flaws and failures were environmental. I felt strongly that anyone who truly knew me would understand exactly how devilishly smart and insightful I was. Therefore, if these qualities were not immediately recognized, it was an issue with the observation capabilities of my peers, and not a reflection of my communication skills or work ethic.

These were all things that my tutor brought to my attention in England, but the environment there was so supportive to introspection and grand philosophizing - perhaps the two abilities I excel at above all else - that my ego was fed nothing less than a grand feast, regardless of the warnings of my mentor. That's not to say that England was in any way a bad experience, but in hindsight, I'm not sure the 18-year-old T-Fro really needed to hear anything about how stupidly insightful he was. I definitely rode that train of self-affirmation for a few too many months afterward. Really, the story of my life since then could be summed up as a long series of events focused primarily on showing me that I am not as badass as I think I am.

I used to consider my delusions an important quality of my character. I always knew I was a megalomaniac, but I reassured myself that my exorbitant ego and unrealistic ideals of self were wholly justified. Yet, as I stray away from those ideals, the more I see that they only encouraged an intense desperation and despair. When such a massive divide exists between who I am and who I think I am meant to be, what reason is there to be hopeful? If I cannot see the meaningful nature of the small steps in attaining that ideal, how can I ever feel myself making progress? The irony is, of course, that as I become more practical in my life goals, the more I witness myself inching towards that vision that I'd always wanted. The key, of course, is that I am inching, not leaping.

All that's to say: it's amazing how much can change in less than a year.

Savoir Adore - Bodies (French Horn Rebellion Remix)
- hypem (if you want to play inside teh browser, since it's not on youtube)
- download
posted by MC Froehlich at with 1 Comments