Category Archives: Idealized

What affects our perception of time?

Whenever I sit and do work, I always marvel at how slow time appears to be moving. It’s kind of annoying when I just want to get something done and it feels like forever. This is even more apparent when I am working on something new.

The fact that I am unfamiliar with a subject makes the apparent time I spent working on it seem to be much greater than the actual time spent. I wonder why? Part of me wants to say it’s because of the fact that everything is new, so all aspects of the task are things that I am unfamiliar with and go slowly on – I also have nothing to compare it to so I don’t know if things are taking their usual length of time.

I’m all about comparisons – comparing one task to another to see which one is better or which one I perform faster. In this project, the author attempts to note the apparent disconnect between our perceived time and our actual time, specifically while performing unfamiliar tasks.

I’d like to posit that there is probably some psychological/metaphysical reason that our perception of time is affected by new tasks. However, as I am not a psychologist/metaphysical…ist, I can’t really give the reasons behind it. Anyone have a clue why we feel this way regarding time?

The Time Hack.

How Can We Fix Our Broken Reality?

I’m currently reading what I think just might be my favorite book of the year: Reality is Broken by Jane McGonigal. It’s about how game designers can change the world for the better – using elements of game design they have used throughout the years.

I’ve been a big proponent for the ideas of games and gaming culture as something important and worthwhile to study. I took several gaming classes in undergrad, the most interesting one called Entertainment as Implicit Pedagogy. While the focus wasn’t necessarily on gaming and video games, I chose to take the perspectives I learned in that class and apply it to gaming.

I also took a course on the history of gaming, that was co-taught by Joost Raessens and Francis Steen. It was a fantastic class, and I was able to apply what I learned in other classes in my projects for it.

Let’s just say…I wrote two different papers on World of Warcraft, that you should be able to find in my Writing Samples section of my website.

Back to the point of this post…Reality is Broken, and Jane McGonigal posits that game designers can help repair it. I love this idea. While looking up reviews for this book, I saw that they had a website setup where you can meet other people who share your interests in game design. I, of course, immediately signed up.

I haven’t had the chance to play around with it much yet, but I can’t wait to see what I can get out of it. My profile is linked at the bottom.

Gameful | Andrew Carlos | Profile.

American Wussy

While cleaning up the library, I saw a banner on the top of the Wall Street Journal advertising an article called “Are American Wusses or Just Fond of Trash Talk?” and it obviously got me excited. The banner depicted what we would normally consider the geekier end of the spectrum of masculinity. Right there,  I knew this was going to be an amazing article. By showing these stereotypical depiction of what many would consider loser males (who are the main heroes in many films/books), the article is calling into question the very nature of masculinity that is depicted in American culture.

It’s interesting to see that in the article, the author finds many instances that seem to show that America is a county built on idealized masculinity. We had a pioneering spirit. We venerated men like Daniel Boone, frontiersmen who went out and explored a continent. Gov. Rendell of Pennsylvania is quoted as saying that “our country was founded by incredible risk-takers…We seem to have lost our boldness.”

The traditional view of masculinity is something to be admired – however, can’t we argue that it was a product of the times? Men had to act a certain way, and perform certain functions, because society and culture asked them to. We have transitioned into a new society in which these actions that were once necessary are no longer important or even purposeful.

The author of the article also mentions a book called “Sissy Nation” by John Strausbaugh. Strausbaugh brings up World War II as a turning point for American masculinity – having witnessed the horrors of war, men return home and seek civility and normalcy. A very interesting argument and to me, it makes sense. The population reacts to what they see going on around them – if they see something horrible, they will react in a different way to make sure they do not have to experience something so horrific again. However, as I mentioned before, why does this reaction have to be colored in a negative light? It seems easy to say that certain actions are ruining masculinity, but we have to be conscious of the context and the history of the change.

One final note: the origin of the word “wuss”, as well as emasculating terms.

There are different origins for the word “wuss”. As mentioned in the article, it became popularized by the movie “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”, in which they explain the derivation as “part wimp and part p____”. (I won’t put in the word, but I’m sure you can figure it out)

It seems ridiculous that using a female body part as a derogatory term for a man can be so disrespectful. I guess that it makes some sense. By identifying the male as somehow female (or less of a male), they are being emasculated – their virility, strength, masculinity is called into question. This can be seen in the way men react to being called a “fag” or “queer” – their manhood is being questioned, so they react negatively.

There’s something to be said about men’s reactions – why is this such an emasculating act for them? Why do they take such offense at being questioned? I can’t really answer that question myself. Perhaps in a later post we can discuss this. Personally, I take offense at people who take offense.

Source: Are Americans Wusses or Just Fond of Trash Talk? – WSJ.com.

Fin de Siecle Vienna

One of the best classes I ever took at UCLA was a seminar lead by a German PhD student. I also happened to meet a pretty good friend in that class.

The topic was fin de siecle Vienna – turn of the century Vienna. Given that I took it just after the turn of THIS century, the topic of the class was 1890-1910 Vienna. It was such an amazing class. I loved everything about it – I was introduced to some amazing artists, some awesome ideas from the time, and just great people in the class who were GENUINELY interested in the topic.

I ended up writing a couple of papers on Gustav Klimt and his works. Klimt and other artists like him..there was just something about their use of ornamentation in their work. I’m sure many people are familiar with Klimts “The Kiss” – the image of two lovers at the edge of a cliff, embracing and kissing each other, while wrapped up in gold. Beautifully and totally cliche now – there’s even a LLADRO figurine (which will soon appear on my wedding registry..whenever that happens).

My favorite work of Klimts though is one of his portraits of Adele Bloch-Bauer. There’s just really something beautiful about it. I’m also a sucker for details and obscure things – the outline of her body is shown by the eyes, the movement implied by the lines along her dress, the many eyes on her dress – a reference to Egyptian myth? Ugh. Love it.

Okay BACK on track…I speak about this only because I came across this link to images from 1895, depicting ideals, concepts, events, etc. Some of them are lovely and have a lot of myth and story behind them. I wish I could spend the time cataloging them and figuring out all of the references. This might be a project to do in my (very little) spare time.

There was also just something special about Vienna at the time – it was one of those cities that was so metropolitan for the day and age and could be an incubator for new ideas. While I’ve always been a fan of Europe, something in that class really got me excited to some day visit Vienna, walk around and visit the sites and sights we talked about in class. Some day, I will make it to Europe on my epic backpacking trip. Not sure when, not sure how. But I will.

Source: 1895 Viennese Archetype Images

Modern Masculinity

I don’t really have the correct words to talk about this post. I’ve been pondering it for weeks now and just haven’t come up with what I really want to say about it.

I’ll just try to go all stream of consciousness and see whether or not I am able to produce a logical, intelligent post. Come join me for the fun!

It seems ridiculous to point out the ridiculousness of mens magazines. Being an avid bookstore browser, and an even more avid magazine section browser, I’m very familiar with what kind of material is covered in mens magazines. The content stays the same, month to month. In fact, I remember seeing a post on a blog I follow in which they show that a magazine actually recycled their cover from a few months back.

The types of things you see in mens magazine are just not something any normal man can/should really accept. I’m sorry, but the average man cannot afford the outfit that you have put on that model. Nor can the average man even pull it off. I’m not saying that mens magazines should appeal to the lowest common denominator, but at the same time, they should not idealize what men can wear/do/purchase, etc.

There’s apparently been a trend towards a more touchy feely approach to masculinity, one in which we focus on being a respectable, responsible man. I love this idea. I think it’s gotten to the point where many men don’t act that way – their goal is to just hook up, move from partner to partner, and maintain life in their 20s – as if they are in college still.

I’m not some sage in modern masculinity, but I do feel I’m a pretty decent example. I’m clearly not the most masculine person I know, nor am I the most feminine person I know. I’m that healthy medium, in which I can work in both realms. I cry when things get difficult, but I also tough it out when I need to.

It seems that we have created this ideal of masculinity in which any sense of emotion or sign of supposed weakness is derided. I hate that. I hate that we aren’t allowed to show our weakness, because we fear being mocked. I flaunt my weaknesses sometimes, because I want people to be aware of it and call me out on it. I love criticism (if its constructive).

But at the same time…we can’t accept this new touchy feely form of masculine too much. I think men should still follow what is traditionally considered masculine traits, but at the same time be accepting of what could be considered feminine traits. Work out your muscles! Work out your emotions! as long as you don’t let one thing overcome you.

The end of the Slate article is interesting – essentially, the author feels that by forcing this other ideal, this “new masculinity” of responsibility, loyalty, granola-y stuff, we will engender a hatred and distrust of it. We won’t be creating men who accept these ideals, but rather men who go against these ideals.

Masculinity (and on the other side of the coin, femininity) is such a strange concept. Two social constructs…how do we deal with their ever changing definitions?

Source: Real Men Cry and Do Laundry

Romanticizing the Road

A friend of mine recently posted on Facebook about what sounds like an amazing road trip: Infinite Wanderlust. I immediately got jealous and started thinking of ways that I can go on a road trip sometime.

I’ve always wanted to go on a long road trip, across the country or across different states. The longest I’ve ever driven has been from the Bay Area to Southern California. And trust me, that drive? Not very exciting – full of bland farmland and traffic.

This trip she is taking…just sounds amazing. Cross Country, creating art along the way, exploring the country…man, who wouldn’t want to do that?

After thinking about it for a while, I realized that I was just worshiping this idealized concept of the road trip. I’ve been brainwashed by all of those movies in which people travel across the country to search for themselves or for the meaning of life. I’m at this point in my life where I feel just a little lost and unsure about my future, so no wonder I’m feeling like a road trip could be fun and enlightening.

I’ve often told this to my roommate, but I hate the way that I have attached myself to possessions. Having not yet reached the age of 30, I feel like I should be able to fit all of my possessions into the back of my car and move at a moments notice. As it is, I have so much crap, it takes a van to move me. Really though..how much of my stuff is used daily? My iPhone, my laptop and some clothes. This wanderlust…I think it stems from the feeling that I don’t need to be settled yet. That I haven’t really learned about myself.

This is feeling a little too Eat, Pray, Love. All I want to do is travel a bit. I haven’t had that chance in my life to travel. I made plans to go to Europe with my best friend a few years back, but that fell through when I gave it up to help take care of my dad.

Some day I’ll get to do this. Hopefully I won’t be too old to appreciate it.