Monday, August 27, 2012

Psychological Projection

I read somewhere that Sigmund Freud came up with the idea of psychological projection which explains why he thought every man had an Oedipus complex. It is easy to feel bad about having certain thoughts, but if used correctly, psychological projection can protect you from developing a negative self image. Case in point, Bill and Ted. If Freud can help these two history class failures save the world, imagine what he could do for you. If you haven't seen the film, then you have homework.

Since everyone thinks the same unsettling thoughts, you really shouldn't feel that bad about having them, right? I mean, why feel guilty for having the sudden urge of taking more ketchup packets than you could ever possibly use on that meal. Sure this is a slippery slope to kleptomania, but its a slope we have all dreamed riding down. And what is guilt anyway, but a nagging self destruct mechanism of true narcissistic glory. Take that extra ketchup packet and place it under the tire of your annoying neighbors Lexus. 

Besides alleviating guilt, projection can also be useful when suggesting an artist or TV show. For example, If you like Star Trek, then you loooove Doctor Who. If you don't then you are only lying to yourself and you really should give it another chance. I know I know, you only like things you discover on your own. So this is what you do, forget I suggested it, buy a copy of the DVD, then stash it in a box of junk and wait five years. Then the next time you move you will discover it on your own, then make sure never to watch the movie Inception again.

By the way, here is that Star Trek clip projection that was totally under appreciated.

This clip made me think about how much projection goes into acting, as I'm sure it did for you as well. We have all taken acting classes before, and in mine I recall certain exercises where we would have to project a given character's thoughts into our minds using the subtext. However, being such a strong minded actor, I would project my mind onto the character's, thus bending the will of the character to my own. When you can do that, it isn't acting anymore, it is being! And this is why I don't do impressions. I fear the impressions would try and take over my mind, and I will never let that happen. I don't even dress up for Halloween.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Olly Olly Oxen Free

If you played hide and seek as a kid, you probably heard the chant, "Olly Olly oxen free if you don't come out you'll be I T."  No one has traced the origin of this phrase or any of it's variations back to anything cool. There never were a group of heretics hiding from a Greek god, Hidensekius, who cried out to all his oxen to join his manhunt. The boring truth is that kids simply augment the way in which they declare hide and seek truces. Some yahoo answers state, the chant was originally worded as,"All come in, all are free". Well, who wants to yell out that mouthful of mediocrity? Kids are always outdoing one another, and you know that out there somewhere, is a kid who quit cleverly rhymed the word free with pee. As is "Olly Olly oxen free, Steve went inside to take a pee." Ok that was me, and let me tell you, it killed, I didn't have to be it for a year after that!

I suppose this morphing phrase can show us how languages can evolve in the absence of a written standard. This is a game passed on from generation to generation without the need for any rule book, because it is so simple, the trade off is it's simple variations. I never moved during my childhood so I don't know how the game was played outside of my tri block area, but once I visited my cousins in another state, and they had incorporated a can that you could kick! This one small change completely revolutionized the game for my entire elementary school.

Kids aren't the only ones who hide and seek though. As you are all innocently unaware, there are ninjas, spies, aliens, and other secrete magical creatures hiding in our midst. Some are hiding in plain site, as you can see with this vending machine soda pop ninja... possibly turtle.

If I were this guy, I'd at least have "an out of service" sign taped me. You know some jaded costumer is gonna start whaling on you sooner or later. I guess as a ninja you could take a beating for the cause, which I suppose in this case would research?

The one variation of hide and seek I enjoyed most as youth was called beckony. If I recall the rules correctly, the seeker must find and call out each hidden one's name. They didn't have to tag you, but once called, you are sent to front porch prison where you could be rescued by another hidden person by grabbing their hand and running them to hide again, but if the seeker caught you doing this they could call out both your names. So it was risky. The game got it's name because, when on porch prison, you would yell out "beckony, please save me." Many childhood romances were formed and dissolved during the course of these games. Kids would refuse to save their brand new girlfriends and you could say Olly Olly oxen free to that budding relationship.


Thursday, August 9, 2012


Right after I graduated high school, I got a job at a group assisted living home with 6 men with various neurological disorders including autism. It was a very difficult job, emotionally. It forced me to see the world in a new light. I had just gotten out of high school, where my day to day worries included preparing for college, and stressing over all the girls who were fighting over me. I had no consciousness of this whole other world where day to day struggles included avoiding seizures, or arguments caused by missed social queues at fast food restaurants. The job was difficult at first, but the payoff was invaluable. These men shared a genuine glow, and an unbelievable level of trust and loyalty. And what was most admirable was that they didn't seem to care how the world saw them, which to me seemed so liberating.

I admit I only knew a very limited group of individuals with Autism, and that was also compounded with other neurological disorders. I guess one conclusion I can draw though, is that my prejudices were completely shattered, the way I saw the world changed forever in the most positive way, and I'm grateful for the time I worked with those men.

While researching autism spectral disorder (ASD), one of the first questions I asked was, what causes it? I was a little surprised to discover how much more work there was left to be done on answering this question. According to the website, clearing the fog about 

"Scientists aren’t certain about what causes ASD, but it’s likely that both genetics and environment play a role. Researchers have identified a number of genes associated with the disorder. Studies of people with ASD have found irregularities in several regions of the brain. Other studies suggest that people with ASD have abnormal levels of serotonin or other neurotransmitters in the brain. These abnormalities suggest that ASD could result from the disruption of normal brain development early in fetal development caused by defects in genes that control brain growth and that regulate how brain cells communicate with each other, possibly due to the influence of environmental factors on gene function. While these findings are intriguing, they are preliminary and require further study. The theory that parental practices are responsible for ASD has long been disproved. "

This was interesting to me, because I had heard that Autsim spectral disorder was possibly related to tourette's syndrome, a condition I dealt with in my early years. They may be similar in at least one respect. As treatment of tourette's syndrome, my doctor gave me medication to increase my serotonin, which helped make my twitches subside. Years later I'm off the meds and the luckily twitches have stayed away, but I still have low serotonin which causes some depression which I now self medicate with doing or watching stand up comedy or watching star trek.

So how is Autism treated? The same website goes on to say,

"There is no cure for ASD. Therapies and behavioral interventions are designed to remedy specific symptoms and can bring about substantial improvement. The ideal treatment plan coordinates therapies and interventions that meet the specific needs of individual children."

Like our guest Steven Yates (Green Circle Award Winner and loving father!) said, no two cases are exactly alike. As was the case with my tourette's syndrome, what worked to cure me probably would not have worked on another kid. It was a long process finding out which neural transmitters were low on, and my case was relatively mild. And other doctors told my parents that their treatment for me would have been completely differently so no one seems to agree on how to treat the brain!

Lastly, we touched on the aspect of prodigy-ism and autism. We tried to show the clip about the math wiz named Jake, which can be seen at I realized a few days later that I had made a short film a few years back about a guy who was overcome with jealousy over his brother, who was a child prodigy. So I hope this is useful in some way. It took some digging.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Romantic Relationships

Al Gore, having invented online dating, has changed the dynamics of budding relationships forever. What did humans do before they had the safety of a digital firewall and the ability to Photoshop away 20 years from their profile pictures? I remember the day where you had to call a girl's home phone and pray her dad didn't pick up first. Now day's you don't even have to ask a father's permission to marry his daughter, but back then you had win her father's approval just so he'd hand her the phone just so you could ask her is if she was still mad at you about the joke you told during gym.

When I went to college, they told me that the western concept of romantic relationships was relatively new. There have been many different variables throughout history that have influenced the dynamic of relationship. They have been cultural, economical, sociological, religious, political, level of health...ical, you name it. Romance, in literature, has been around for centuries. The deep human desire for love and chivalry was there, but there was also a conflicting desire to keep the blood line in tact. As this clip explains. (The accents in this clip are a bit thick)

I feel rather privileged that my relationship was not forged out of a trade for farm land or a deal to strengthen family ties. I wonder how relationships will continue to evolve. Our digitized society has shaped how we approach romantic relationships in a unprecedented way. If you prefer face to face contact more than texting, you may get left behind. People you work with, that you thought about dating, may already know a lot about you from Facebook. Your online profile now serves as a sort of relationship resume, if you like the wrong political party, or worse, the TV show, you don't even have a chance to lie about it on a first date.

This brings me to a point I have made several times on the podcast. I love wife!

We had a short courtship, and we were both young, according to modern day standards, but we both had long laundry lists of love and our personalities, goals, and many other aspects matched up so miraculously and mathematically, that we really had no choice. I would write it all out in the form of first order differential equations and walk you through all the variables to prove that it was meant to be, but I don't want to bore you. I will say, the lightning in a bottle moment for me was a date where she caught me accidentally feeding her lasagna off a dirty plate, and she still stayed for dessert... Now that I think of it, maybe she just really really likes ice cream. However, the kicker was, we both agreed that the best seasons of the Simpsons were the ones with Conan as a staff writer, and when ever we have a fight we just pop in a Simpsons dvd.

Fast forward four years and we are still going strong, in fact we have grown so confident in our relationship that we have toned down our PDA in vacation photos considerably!