Have a think about some of the things you do on a day to day basis.

Do you realise the insanity and strangeness of some of the occurences you take for granted?

Such as the fact that for an average of eight hours every day we are in an altered state of consciousness, in a state of suspended animation where we lose awareness of our surroundings and see images of things we have often never experienced in our conscious state. Every single day. And if we don’t go through this process, if this is even possible for us at all, then our mind begins to crack at the seams and we see eight legged arthropods on the edges of our vision when in fact there aren’t any? I am, of course, referring to sleep. Why do we need it? No-one has been able to give me a straight answer, and the scientific explanation has more holes in it than a piece of swedish cheese.

A picture of a piece of cheese to help illustrate my point and make my terrible simile more amusing.

And what about crying? What does feeling sad or very happy have to do with leaking liquid from our eyes? It’s odd! But apparently

scientists believe tears also carry certain undesirable  hormones and other proteins that are produced during periods of stress  out of the body, which may explain the cathartic effect of “a good cry.”

Makes sense, although we ar ethe only mammal to do this for emotional reasons.

Did you know that the more you ‘zone out’ the more creative and intelligent you tend to be? I somehow doubt this. I have spent the majority of many hours in school and at work and at home and on the bus in a perpetual state of zone outedness and it has not helped my IQ even the tiniest bit, let me assure you.

Either way, what is undeniable is that we often take life far too much for granted. The very fact that there is an existence – I’m sure you’ve all thought about this at some point and doesn’t it just feel like your brain is being wrung into a bucket. Why does anything have to exist? What is ‘this’. The point of all of ‘this’, where the word ‘this’ is a substitute for some other much more specific word that I cannot mentally locate due to the failings of my lax vocabulary and weak brainpower as a consequence of my having run out of coffee this morning. Cause and effect.

Think about it.

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I’ve always wanted to, plus this blog could be way more interesting when I add the embellishments a tone of voice can provide.

Jenna Marbles is a real favorite of mine. She’s funny although often pointless- that’s the idea though, isn’t it?- but what really stands out are the subtle things she does that give her videos that added quality of professionalism. Ever notice the quiet, omnipresent music she has playing in the background of her ‘funny’ videos? Or the smooth transitions between shots? Her editing is some of the best I’ve seen on youtube with the style she selects actually adding to the humour.

Ultimately, though, youtube channels are just the even more obnoxious sister of the blog, with the added bonus of more potential to show off a greater range of creative skills in producing your white noise.

We as a species have always been able to instinctively sense the tremendous power that music has on the mind. The simple fact that certain train stations around Melbourne with a reputation for violence now feature classical music from overhead speakers is testament to this fact.

Recently I read that we tend to select our music to match our mood. If this is the way it works in the short term, extrapolating leads to the conclusion that overall our taste in music reflects our personality and frame of mind, as a consequence of the ‘vibe’ our mind operates on.

Suddenly, judging someone based on their taste in music seems justifiable and perhaps plausible!

Personally my musical taste is all over the place and relatively all-encompassing- I can ‘like’ a song from just about any genre, but it has definitely changed over the years as I have gotten older and started spending time with different types of people, certain areas tend to attract me more than others. The bands I have been listening to of late are becoming progressively more obscure. Not sure how I feel about this fact- I’m not one of those who is too postmodern to enjoy some mainstream tunes should they be enjoyable, although admittedly most mainstream tunes are godawful and an embarrassment to the supposed ‘artists’ who spawn them. Also, interestingly enough, different bands within certain musical style I find I almost subconsciously match up to different periods in my life and different people. Sometimes listening to a song takes you right back, and you can almost picture the sights, smells, feelings and the face that was around when you first started listening to it.

Just a thought.

I’m tired. It’s 2am. I have this blog I’m supposed to finish writing and I keep getting distracted. My grammatical abilities and vocabulary peaked about six hours ago and have been declining ever since. I am currently at my lowest point, but this will not dissuade me just yet. I have a long day tomorrow. Lot’s to get through. Long week. Stress and all of that.

So what do I do? I get up and eat a whole can of this mayo tuna thing with dijon mustard. I don’t even like this stuff. What is it even doing in my house?

It’s 2AM!

And then I ask myself why I’m packing it on.

Food it not the answer. Say it with me. When you’re sad, frustrated, bored

When you just saw facebook images of a certain gentlemen of interest engaging in amorous activity  with some female who looks like her mental capacity couldn’t quite light up a low voltage light bulb

You don’t eat.

Less than a year ago I was a rail. I have always been a rail. I am petite and I don’t have the bone structure to be “solid”. But the way I’ve been eating, especially since I’ve moved out, especially since the addition of alcohol to my diet, has taken it’s toll. I’m definitely a few above where I’d like to be right now. And I’m so used to eating whatever I want without a second thought and being slim that I never gained any willpower, so they won’t be easy to lose.

For one thing, when you move out and you don’t have an oven- that’s right, no oven- you quickly lose the will to cook. As though I was any good in the first place. So you turn to canned, quick and easy meal ideas. I’ve made a point to stay away from fast food and am quite proud of myself for that. But it’s not like canned fish, whole grain bread (my pathetic attempt at healthy food choices) eggs and microwavable meal ideas are that much better. I tried coffee given its reputation as a revered stimulant in terms of its capacity to increase metabolism, but all it seems to have achieved is the destruction of my sleeping pattern. The other day I think I overdosed on caffeine so hard I nearly died right there in the Bailleu library. I had heart palpitations, nausea and a terrible panic attack. The coffee was a large size strong black espresso from Castro’s outside David Carro. It was because I was running on an empty stomach and two hours sleep that day. Long story, one thing just feeds into another.

Either way the manner in which I eat at the moment is neither healthy nor cheap. I put no thought into my meals and I don’t plan my groceries. Ideally I should be having one weekly or fortnightly visit to somewhere like Aldi or Costco or a market with a list of fruits, vegetables, fish and meat that I need for X amount of time. Instead I’m always dashing somewhere after a late shift because I forgot milk or dishwashing detergent.

I’m doing it wrong. Take it from me, you really need to have it together if you attempt to leave home at my age. Just stay with parents and put up with their nagging, controlling ways. Me? I am an exceptionally stubborn young woman and a creature of principle. This little stunt has gained me a lot of respect from my family although they won’t admit it, and there is no way I’m going to go crawling back now.

Bring on the canned fish and a gym membership

POST MODERNITY.

This made me laugh pretty hard.

I’m so postmodern that I just don’t talk anymore, I wear different coloured t-shirts according to my mood.

I’m so postmodern that I work from home as a surf life saving consumer hotline.

I’m so postmodern all my clothes are made out of sleeping bags, I don’t need pockets, I’m a pocket myself.

I’m so postmodern I go to parties I’m not invited to and locate the vegemite and write my name on everyone.

I’m so postmodern that I write reviews for funerals, and heckle at weddings from inside a suitcase.

I’m so postmodern I’m going to adopt a child, and teach him how to knit, and call him Adolf Diggler.

I’m so postmodern that I break dance in waiting rooms, play Yahtzee in nightclubs, at three in the afternoon.

I’m so postmodern I only go on dates that last thirteen minutes, via walky talky, while hiding under the bed.

I’m so postmodern I invite strangers to my house, and put on a slide show of other people’s Nans.

I’m so postmodern I went home and typed up everything you said and printed it out in wingdings and gave it back to you.

I’m so postmodern I held an art exhibition – a Chuppa Chup stuck to a swimming cap, and no one was invited.

I’m so postmodern I make alphabet soup, and dye it purple, and pour it on the lawn.

I’m so postmodern I request Hey Mona on karaoke, then sing my life story to the tune of My Sharona.

I’m so postmodern I only think in palindromic haikus – “Madam, I, Glenelg, I’m Adam!”

I’m so postmodern that I sit down to wee, and stand up to poo, at job interviews.

I’m so postmodern that I dress up as Santa, in the middle of August, and haunt golf courses.

I’m so postmodern that I cut off all my hair, and knitted it into a beanie, and threw it off a bridge.

I’m so postmodern that I stole everyone’s mail, and cut them up into a ransom note and hid it in a thermos.

I’m so postmodern I take my lego to the supermarket and build my own shopping trolley, and only buy one nut.

I’m so postmodern I wrote a letter to the council – .I think it was ‘M.’

I’m so postmodern I bought a round the world plane ticket, and stuffed my clothes with eggplant and pretended it was me.

I’m so postmodern I’ve got a tattoo of my pin number in hieroglyphics on my neighbour’s guide dog.

I’m so postmodern I fought my way into parliament and made a law banning Nuttelex, and then moved to Spain.

I’m so postmodern that I iron all my lettuce leaves, put my shirts in the crisper – they’re real crisp.

I’m so postmodern I give live mice to buskers, dirty tea towels to the Mormons, and pavlova to crabs.

I’m so postmodern that I live in a tent, on a platform of skateboards that’s tied to a tram.

I’m so postmodern I write four thousand-word essays on the cultural significance of party pies.

I’m so postmodern I recite Shakespeare at KFC drive thru, through a megaphone, in sign language.

I’m so postmodern I’m going to watch the Olympics on a black & white TV, with the sound down.

I’m so postmodern I go to the gym after hours, push up against the door, then cry myself to sleep.

I’m so postmodern I wrote a trilogy of novels from the perspective of a possum that Jesus patted once.

I’m so postmodern that I marry all my friends, soak myself in metho, and tell them that they’ve changed.

I’m so postmodern I bought every book written in 1963 as a reading challenge, and clogged up a waterslide.

I’m so postmodern I think I might be a god in my undies rolling in sugar, in the carpark of a rodeo.

I’m so postmodern I prerecorded this song, and laced a message subliminally telling Shane Porteous to buy a smock.

The other day I decided to do some light reading, so I illegally downloaded a pdf of this book. I had heard about it previously somewhere and it seemed interesting in a forbidden kind of way. I was drawn to it like a moth to a flame. I thought it might have something to do with the Alexander Acting Technique which I have read about extensively and find inexhaustibly interesting but it has NOTHING to do with the Alexander Technique. Although in a way it is based around the same concept- acting.

Although it looks like pure evil in text form its more about manipulating the self than manipulating others. The central idea, the gist of all of the science and technical terminology being that if you are able to make yourself into such a persona as to illicit a positive reaction from whomever you interact with, in gaining their trust you may proceed to obtain sensitive information. Apparently a good read for an FBI agent.

What can I say I skimmed it.

More interesting than personal information is the idea that you can potentially have control over the responses/thoughts/feelings/opinions of another human being given the right training. I’m guessing this is a mandatory textbook for politicians, too. I read a little deeper into a few chapters and came to the conclusion that if you have the patience, willpower and skill to master some of these techniques, as well as the resolve and guts to practise them until you get good enough to see results, you deserve them. Read it for yourself if you have time- becoming a professional with this requires some serious work. It’s way over my head, sadly, and I know what that says about me. I’m much too impatient and not mentally resilient enough. Still an interesting read for those so inclined.

Some chapter headers to give you a better idea:

 

Chapter 1: A Look into the World of Social Engineering

Why This Book Is So Valuable

Overview of Social Engineering

 Chapter 2: Information Gathering

Gathering Information

Communication Modeling

The Power of Communication Models

 Chapter 3: Elicitation

What Is Elicitation?

The Goals of Elicitation

Mastering Elicitation

Chapter 4: Pretexting: How to Become Anyone

What Is Pretexting?

The Principles and Planning Stages of Pretexting

Successful Pretexting

Chapter 5: Mind Tricks: Psychological Principles Used in Social

Engineering

Modes of Thinking

Microexpressions

Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP)

Interview and Interrogation

Building Instant Rapport

The Human Buffer Overflow

Chapter 6: Influence: The Power of Persuasion

The Five Fundamentals of Influence and Persuasion

Influence Tactics

Altering Reality: Framing

Manipulation: Controlling Your Target

Manipulation in Social Engineering

Chapter 7: The Tools of the Social Engineer

Physical Tools

Online Information-Gathering Tools

Chapter 8: Case Studies: Dissecting the Social Engineer

Chapter 9: Prevention and Mitigation

Learning to Identify Social Engineering Attacks

Creating a Personal Security Awareness Culture

Being Aware of the Value of the Information You Are Being

Asked For

Keeping Software Updated

Developing Scripts

Learning from Social Engineering Audits

Concluding Remarks

You know those moments in class or some instance where you’re around others whom you don’t know very well and you’re asked to introduce yourself and provide an interesting sufficiently obscure fact/summary of your entire being in a minute or less?

So you have a mini existential crises whilst awaiting your turn for the awkwardness of it all and contemplate who you are and what you’re all about in your nineteen/twenty or so years of life all in the few seconds leading up to your turn to speak. Firstly, the whole idea of this is against the fiber of my being. I always fight the impulse to rise from my cheap plastic seat and exclaim

“No! No. That is not how this works. You get to know someone gradually, over time. Through conversation and observing their behaviour. Their handwriting. The way they walk. Their facial expressions when no-one is looking. The films they watch. The jokes they make. The little things they do are what reveals their hand. Everything is a self-portrait. Everything is a diary.”

Cue the viola’s and melancholy pianoforte.

The face that you have decided to make right now.
Unflattering, by the way.

Ok that end bit is somewhat inspired by Chuck Palahniuk. Google him. He wrote ‘Fight Club’.

Blogging is a mentally exhausting and innately narcissistic activity. I run my own personal blog and have for almost two years. It’s not a wordpress.com site and it’s more music/pop-culture/review/inspirational based. It features quotes such as

“It’s no good pretending that any relationship has a future if your record collections disagree violently or if your favorite films wouldn’t even speak to each other if they met at a party.”

– High Fidelity, Nick Hornby

That’s how I approach all of my relationships with prospective dates, fyi.

I am also a naturally introspective person so you would expect this to come easily to me by now but sometimes my thoughts circle like sharks in a  tank and I think and re-think until everything hurts and I want to turn off my ipod, shut my laptop and read or watch mindless tv or take a walk. But if I take a walk I inevitably end up thinking even more.

Any chronic over-thinker knows that we can do some pretty extreme things to escape our thoughts. And all of those creative types. Musicians, film directors. Quentin Tarantino is a favorite of mine- he features himself in his movies. During these small cameos I realise that he is a quirky little nut indeed.

This is him in Pulp Fiction. The guy in the robe with crazy hair. He added nothing to the storyline in this scene. His mannerisms were fascinating.

There’s a certian threshold you cross where you simply realise that you have become insane. It’s a fine line to toe. You have to have things that keep you grounded in this reality. Sometimes you need to numb your buzzing over-active mind all the way down. Blogging can surprisingly exacerbate this condition just as much as it can potentially relieve it.

That is until my brain deconstructs it when I bring it into working memory then re-codes it with a few small inconsistencies, then this phenomenon happens a few times as I think about it and these differences accumulate until my memory is inaccurate and hazy at best.

Just saying.

 

The ability to talk/type out of ones posterior is an essential skill for any Arts student, as all of my peers know all too well. Don’t lie.

But in all honesty I need to get this out there, air some dirty laundry if you will – about 95% of the time, dating back to my high school years (oh how long ago those now seem), whether it be a presentation, research paper, exam what have you, I PRETEND to have a solid grasp of the concepts involved. And you would be surprised, very surprised, how often it works. ‘Fake till you make it’ is a cliche that has earned it’s reputation as a cliche because it is over-used because it is so darned true.

No, I am not confident in my topic. Even if I spent the last two months studying apples day and night I can assure you that secretly somewhere deep down I still believe I don’t know if they are a fruit. Because I also know that some quirky quirk spent sixty years of his miserable(meaningful?) existance studying the chemical composition of the Royal Gala and how this contributes to it’s distinctive flavour. But that won’t stop me from walking onto that podium with the confidence of Serena Williams hitting the tennis court and giving you the best presentation on apples that you have ever heard. I think I’d make a brilliant journalist to be honest. Failing that politics or even law. I wonder if this is how Obama does it.

It’s like that time I went for a job interview BLIND DRUNK. It was a big, fancy, well-known company and I wanted that job rather badly, but in high pressure situations where I need to appear like I have it together I.. struggle sometimes. Let’s leave the euphemisms unexplored, shall we.

So I turn up to this interview blind drunk, and I can barely string two-words together. But I am well-dressed, smiley and oh-so self-assured, as one can only be when one has just had enough ethanol to tranquillize a small horse- yes I overdosed by accident, I’m not experienced with hard liquor- and I answer the questions loudly and soon after they are asked. I do not say anything intelligent, of substance or in any way profound. I chat mindlessly to the other candidates in the group assessment. My posture is relaxed; my gestures not self-conscious. I don’t walk- I strut. I believe that I am God’s gift to this corporation, what with my experience and incredible resume and killer knowledge of the product that I can’t name.

I get a call later that day from my recuitment agent who tells me, and these are almost her exact words “I don’t know what you did but they loved you. A few of the others still have question marks over their heads but they specifically requested you. They said you handled the interview questions with eloquence and charisma, and mingled well with the other candidates during the assessment centre”.

When I hung up the phone that afternoon I was sobering up on a tram, and so found it extremely difficult to appear sane while I stifled my giggles.

Now if this isn’t incredible definitive anecdotal evidence that forever cements my point then such evidance does not exist.

And so I approach my Arts degree with a combination of frantic research, last minute essays and a healthy dose of pseudo-confidence.

 

So I figured, what better way to start a blog which is essentially about over-thinking (or shall I less aptly but more obfuscatingly say- ‘philosophizing the mundane experiences that occur in everyday life’) than with a video where a pair of obscure, albeit highly educated scientists discuss why you may find one painting appealing yet I might hate it.

In all honesty though, I think it’s fascinating. It’s almost what one might call a ‘life hack’. Consider the possibility of being able to, at a very essential level, decode the nuances of what we find “aesthetically pleasing”, then harness this understanding and utilize its full potential. For one thing the benefit to be provided within the world of advertising is unparalleled. I wonder why they don’t invest more time and money investigating this.

I mean they*  took the time to figure what height to place a box of cereal so we look at one brand before we see another (did you know that certain supermarket shelves cost companies more money to display a product on than others? For precisely this reason) yet oddly no-one has bothered to really delve into how to capture our attention on a nuerochemical level.  Get those dopamine levels rising with appealing shapes and colours and we’ll buy your product. It’s simple, really.

* Whoever “they” are. The advertisers and media giants who control the world. Conspiracy theories abound.