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Creuset of Ideas
A collection of various ideas



h1

The Evil of Pictionary

2007-06-1 @ 10:23

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The other night, we were at a friend’s for a (nice) party and started playing Pictionary. We didn’t use the game, but came up, in two teams, with (sometimes wacky) words and expressions, then went at it. And how. I hadn’t played in a long while, but let me tell you, people get inflamed playing this game. And it’s not just competition.

Take, for example, the Simpsons episode where Milhouse’s parents (Kirk and Luann) split up:

Kirk: Ah, come on Luanne, you know what this is.
Luanne: Kirk, I don’t know what it is.
Kirk: [sighs] It could not be more simple, Luanne. You want me to show this to the cat, and have the cat tell you what it is? ‘Cause the cat’s going to get it.
Luanne: I’m sorry, I’m not as smart as you, Kirk. We didn’t all go to Gudger College.
[timer dings]
Kirk: It’s dignity! Gah! Don’t you even know dignity when you see it?
Luanne: Kirk, you’re spitting.
Kirk: Okay, genius, why don’t you draw dignity.
[she does so]
[everyone gasps in recognition — we can’t see it, however]
Dr. Hibbert: Worthy of Webster’s.

The thing is, Pictionary is one of those rare games where communication is the goal. And two of the thing that irks us most are: not being understood and not understanding. Especially when it comes to that special someone, who usually happens to be on the same team.

As in everyday life, we tend to express ourselves in a way that make sense, from our point of view. The same thing with Pictionary: we tend to draw things that we would understand. And to see the drawing, of course, from our perspective. It takes a conscious effort to work from the other’s point of view. And we tend to think that, if we have a special bond with someone, they’ll share our perspective, at least more than most, and understand us readily. The opposite of which, at least for trivial matters, comes to light through exercises like Pictionary.

And in couples, a lot of the problems have to do with communication, or lack thereof more precisely. Not that all problems are based on a lack of communication, but communication plays an important role in making things better or worst – usually the latter.

Add competition, maybe a bit of alcohol, and the lack of expressive restraint that trivial matters tend to give us, and you have an explosive cocktail.

Fortunately, no one was hurt at that party, although we did discover that one of us was psychic (how do you guess “crack whore” from “woman with penis”?).

h1

The Danish Language Needs Your Help

2007-05-31 @ 14:44

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Via 3quarksdaily

h1

spc: Main concourse

2007-05-28 @ 16:00

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A second self-portrait in NYC, this time inside the main concourse of Grand Central Station.

We did a lot of walking that day, and took a lot of pictures. I’ll try and post some, as well as my impressions in the coming days.

h1

Grand Central Station

2007-05-25 @ 13:42

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h1

SPC: Struttin’

2007-05-25 @ 12:26

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Got to New York (for the first time in my life) last Saturday Night, only to learn that we would be staying in the Brooklyn neighborhood were they filmed, 30 years earlier, Saturday Night Fever. I just had to do it: go strutting on 86th

strutting on 86th
(The SPC theme this month is On the Street)

h1

Distinctly

2007-05-15 @ 19:55 » Français

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A few years (actually, a few lustra) back, a fellow student, who happened to be researching native Quebec languages, was commenting how we Quebecois tend to define ourselves negatively. Not in a sense that we have a bad image of ourselves, but that our identity is made up of nots: we’re not Anglos, we’re not Americans, not Canadians, not Frenchmen, not Natives. Although I think we do have a “positive” identity, there seems to be a once of truth to his statement.

I’ve got this coworker who recently moved from Kitchener, Ontario (which we call, around here, moving up); she’s having a hard time seeing that Quebecois are not like Ontarians. In her mind, we’re all the same: we want to be happy, have a family, a good job, etc. She was quite surprised when I explained how Isabelle, when she went to live in Saskatchewan, had a bigger cultural shock than when she lived in Cameroon. She’s also surprised that a lot of people here can often tell a Frenchy from an Anglo a mile away. I work for a company owned by an Ontario one, and we often have to explain to them that what works there (especially in marketing), doesn’t necessarily work here, which any country-wide ad agency will tell you.

Then it hit me: it has to do with how we construct our identity. I may be wrong, but I get the distinct impression that Ontarians (and maybe other Canadians) tend to see the similarities first and foremost, at least within Canada. Whereas we here tend to focus on the differences; the similarities are not important: in our mind, it’s what makes us different that counts (again, at least between Anglos and Frenchies).

h1

France-bashing

2007-05-7 @ 11:03

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The observers hunch has brought this hilarious Bill Maher commentary about American republicans’ favourite passtime: France-bashing. A must see.

h1

spc: 1984

2007-05-1 @ 7:44

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This month’s Self Portrait Challenge theme is On the street. So here goes:

Surveillance picture

Surveillance cameras are everywhere (there’s supposedly 32 CCTV cameras around Orwell’s old London home); I don’t doubt their usefullness in curbing criminality (actually, displacing it and modifying its type), and in criminal investigation (then again, martial law will get those crime numbers down). What I find interesting is people’s reaction, especially the good ol’ “If you don’t do anything wrong, you don’t have to worry about it.”

This always prompts the following responses in me:

  1. we all do things that are not too kosher, or that we’re not proud of;
  2. it’s not so much what you think is wrong that matters, but what any of the people who have access to the footage thinks (just think of demonstrators against government policies);
  3. stop thinking only about yourself.

Anyway, that’s my rant for today.

h1

The Spirit Survives

2007-04-25 @ 11:19

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This morning, I woke up with this song in my head (hence the title of the previous post):

Such distance to the tips of the fingers,
the ganglion loom jerks inside;
the body grows steadily stranger
but the spirit won’t be denied.

That sharp halogen flash jars the eyeball,
the limbs pump in overdrive;
the body grows seemingly weaker
but the spirit won’t be denied.

Yeah, the ash-mark stands out on the forehead
as the vacuum sneaks up on the eyes;
the body becomes a constant traitor
but the spirit won’t be denied.

And they call that living a normal life,
but normality’s not standardised.
Though the body gets ever more root-bound
the spirit won’t be denied

Yes, the spirit survives.

This morning, I learned that the mother of a dear friend of mine is now terminally ill.

h1

spc: such distance

2007-04-25 @ 8:00

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… to the tips of the fingers.

fingers

This month’s Self Portrait Challenge theme is the body.

 

h1

The Evil of Pictionary

2007-06-1 @ 10:23

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The other night, we were at a friend’s for a (nice) party and started playing Pictionary. We didn’t use the game, but came up, in two teams, with (sometimes wacky) words and expressions, then went at it. And how. I hadn’t played in a long while, but let me tell you, people get inflamed playing this game. And it’s not just competition.

Take, for example, the Simpsons episode where Milhouse’s parents (Kirk and Luann) split up:

Kirk: Ah, come on Luanne, you know what this is.
Luanne: Kirk, I don’t know what it is.
Kirk: [sighs] It could not be more simple, Luanne. You want me to show this to the cat, and have the cat tell you what it is? ‘Cause the cat’s going to get it.
Luanne: I’m sorry, I’m not as smart as you, Kirk. We didn’t all go to Gudger College.
[timer dings]
Kirk: It’s dignity! Gah! Don’t you even know dignity when you see it?
Luanne: Kirk, you’re spitting.
Kirk: Okay, genius, why don’t you draw dignity.
[she does so]
[everyone gasps in recognition — we can’t see it, however]
Dr. Hibbert: Worthy of Webster’s.

The thing is, Pictionary is one of those rare games where communication is the goal. And two of the thing that irks us most are: not being understood and not understanding. Especially when it comes to that special someone, who usually happens to be on the same team.

As in everyday life, we tend to express ourselves in a way that make sense, from our point of view. The same thing with Pictionary: we tend to draw things that we would understand. And to see the drawing, of course, from our perspective. It takes a conscious effort to work from the other’s point of view. And we tend to think that, if we have a special bond with someone, they’ll share our perspective, at least more than most, and understand us readily. The opposite of which, at least for trivial matters, comes to light through exercises like Pictionary.

And in couples, a lot of the problems have to do with communication, or lack thereof more precisely. Not that all problems are based on a lack of communication, but communication plays an important role in making things better or worst – usually the latter.

Add competition, maybe a bit of alcohol, and the lack of expressive restraint that trivial matters tend to give us, and you have an explosive cocktail.

Fortunately, no one was hurt at that party, although we did discover that one of us was psychic (how do you guess “crack whore” from “woman with penis”?).

h1

The Danish Language Needs Your Help

2007-05-31 @ 14:44

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Via 3quarksdaily

h1

spc: Main concourse

2007-05-28 @ 16:00

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A second self-portrait in NYC, this time inside the main concourse of Grand Central Station.

We did a lot of walking that day, and took a lot of pictures. I’ll try and post some, as well as my impressions in the coming days.

h1

Grand Central Station

2007-05-25 @ 13:42

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h1

SPC: Struttin’

2007-05-25 @ 12:26

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Got to New York (for the first time in my life) last Saturday Night, only to learn that we would be staying in the Brooklyn neighborhood were they filmed, 30 years earlier, Saturday Night Fever. I just had to do it: go strutting on 86th

strutting on 86th
(The SPC theme this month is On the Street)

h1

Distinctly

2007-05-15 @ 19:55 » Français

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A few years (actually, a few lustra) back, a fellow student, who happened to be researching native Quebec languages, was commenting how we Quebecois tend to define ourselves negatively. Not in a sense that we have a bad image of ourselves, but that our identity is made up of nots: we’re not Anglos, we’re not Americans, not Canadians, not Frenchmen, not Natives. Although I think we do have a “positive” identity, there seems to be a once of truth to his statement.

I’ve got this coworker who recently moved from Kitchener, Ontario (which we call, around here, moving up); she’s having a hard time seeing that Quebecois are not like Ontarians. In her mind, we’re all the same: we want to be happy, have a family, a good job, etc. She was quite surprised when I explained how Isabelle, when she went to live in Saskatchewan, had a bigger cultural shock than when she lived in Cameroon. She’s also surprised that a lot of people here can often tell a Frenchy from an Anglo a mile away. I work for a company owned by an Ontario one, and we often have to explain to them that what works there (especially in marketing), doesn’t necessarily work here, which any country-wide ad agency will tell you.

Then it hit me: it has to do with how we construct our identity. I may be wrong, but I get the distinct impression that Ontarians (and maybe other Canadians) tend to see the similarities first and foremost, at least within Canada. Whereas we here tend to focus on the differences; the similarities are not important: in our mind, it’s what makes us different that counts (again, at least between Anglos and Frenchies).

h1

France-bashing

2007-05-7 @ 11:03

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The observers hunch has brought this hilarious Bill Maher commentary about American republicans’ favourite passtime: France-bashing. A must see.

h1

spc: 1984

2007-05-1 @ 7:44

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This month’s Self Portrait Challenge theme is On the street. So here goes:

Surveillance picture

Surveillance cameras are everywhere (there’s supposedly 32 CCTV cameras around Orwell’s old London home); I don’t doubt their usefullness in curbing criminality (actually, displacing it and modifying its type), and in criminal investigation (then again, martial law will get those crime numbers down). What I find interesting is people’s reaction, especially the good ol’ “If you don’t do anything wrong, you don’t have to worry about it.”

This always prompts the following responses in me:

  1. we all do things that are not too kosher, or that we’re not proud of;
  2. it’s not so much what you think is wrong that matters, but what any of the people who have access to the footage thinks (just think of demonstrators against government policies);
  3. stop thinking only about yourself.

Anyway, that’s my rant for today.

h1

The Spirit Survives

2007-04-25 @ 11:19

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This morning, I woke up with this song in my head (hence the title of the previous post):

Such distance to the tips of the fingers,
the ganglion loom jerks inside;
the body grows steadily stranger
but the spirit won’t be denied.

That sharp halogen flash jars the eyeball,
the limbs pump in overdrive;
the body grows seemingly weaker
but the spirit won’t be denied.

Yeah, the ash-mark stands out on the forehead
as the vacuum sneaks up on the eyes;
the body becomes a constant traitor
but the spirit won’t be denied.

And they call that living a normal life,
but normality’s not standardised.
Though the body gets ever more root-bound
the spirit won’t be denied

Yes, the spirit survives.

This morning, I learned that the mother of a dear friend of mine is now terminally ill.

h1

spc: such distance

2007-04-25 @ 8:00

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… to the tips of the fingers.

fingers

This month’s Self Portrait Challenge theme is the body.