A different brain

I was out at a karaoke bar recently and someone sang ‘What It’s Like’ by Everlast. This somewhat cheesy, quintessentially 90’s song came out when I was a teen, and I’ve always known all the words but somehow I’ve never really heard them before. Or maybe it’s that, being older and having a bit of experience in the world, I can identify with them in a way a 16 year old cant. Because, hearing them sung, off key and in a cracked voice by a tipsy stranger, was somehow as if actually listening to the words for the first time, and I almost wanted to cry.

What could have changed in my brain to cause this song I’ve heard a thousand times before and never really thought about, to suddenly have an emotional effect on me?

Brains… are strange…


I miss Thinking

In my late teens I used to go sit in all night cafe’s by myself and think for hours on end. I imagined ways in which the world could work, other universes, strange consciousness, other creatures, alien landscapes–all without a smartphone or even a book. Just free refills of coffee and my imagination.

I miss that kind of driven mind-wandering. It wasn’t idle thoughts while waiting for time to pass–I went there specifically to sit and do some hard thinking. That was often my plan for the evening…

I only wish I’d written some of those thoughts down. At the time they seemed unimportant, or things that anyone could be thinking.

But I don’t believe many people think very hard about anything anymore.

I hope thinking isn’t a lost art. Perhaps I just need to meet more thinkers…

Notice things

I find that I often am oblivious to things right next to me. I spend way to much time in my head, thinking about anything other than what I’m doing and where I am in the moment.

Lately I’ve been making a conscious effort to notice the things around me. What objects are near me? What are they for? What people or smells? How would I describe them?

It’s startling how many things I see, and think to myself ‘I’d never have known that existed, if I didn’t try specifically to look at the things around me.’ That’s how much of a head-in-the-clouds kind of person I am…

Walk a new path

Walking generates ideas. It turns gears that churn the mix in my brain and make new things pop up. However, I’ve found that walking the same geographical location, turns up the same thoughts. It’s as if my mind is walking down it’s own internal path, and passing the same ideas over and over again.

I’ve been stuck on my current novel for a while now. I go out during breaks and walk around and think. But I’ve been coming up with nothing. Today, though, I walked a different path. It was barely different, just slightly off my usual path, facing a new direction, seeing new sights, and it felt as if my mind was pushing through the brush, forging new trails, and I had new ideas. Finally, my block is over, all because I stepped off the path just slightly.

Try it! If you walk or bike or run or drive to think, take a different path than you usually do, and I bet you’ll have some fresh ideas!

The City and the City, by China Mieville

I finished reading The City & The City and was impressed, intrigued and am interested in reading some of his other books.

A murder investigation in a foreign city which is actually two cities who spend their days ignoring each other… what could go wrong?

I found this crime novel to be very creative, and though it is not quite fantasy or sci fi, it is not exactly in our world either (this city obviously doesn’t exist, though its location is real enough). Nothing supernatural is involved, besides the strange powers of the human mind to be blind to the things we train ourselves to unsee.

The story was quite engaging and exciting, and the mystery very gripping. Only at the very end did it lose a bit of steam, when it fell into the cliche of the hero and villain having a long conversation to explain all of what happened while pointing guns at each other. Otherwise, a very satisfying read and I’m glad I picked it up.

I’d recommend it to any fans of crime dramas, as well as fans of speculative or weird fiction.

Weaponized insanity

No, this isn’t a political post…

I’m still listening to Peace on Earth and in it, they have the idea of a drug or weapon that induces psychosis. This would be a much more effective way of eliminating someone who knows too much. Killing them would draw attention to them, and start an investigation–but if they just slowly go mad? No one would suspect. And it invalidates any information they might have against you, because no one can believe or trust an insane person.

This is a really neat concept, and I wonder if there are such strategies employed today–maybe forced drug addiction to discredit someone, for example.

Interesting things in this book so far…

Odd John: another biography style story about super smart people

I just finished Odd John and it reminded me a bit of The Glass Bead Game in that it was a historical/biographical style telling of a group of super intelligent people who the rest of the world doesn’t understand. It was about ten times more entertaining, though that isn’t saying much. It was also written around the same time so maybe fictional biographies were a fad then.

This story was interesting, and gave me a lot of ideas to pirate. It follows the path of one character, John, from his birth to death. He starts out as a genius baby learning to read and speak and do complex math, physics and more all in his first years. From there, he moves on to even stranger/more amazing feats.

The end is what one might expect from a group of hyper smart people trying to start a colony. The world can never accept what it doesn’t understand. The author leaves it a bit vague what the group is trying to do with their collective smarts, but whatever it was, we normals would never have understood…

An interesting book, but I wasn’t a fan of the way it was written.