OAK BRIGGS

BAI NOW!

It appears that my time in Exhibit B is over-- and much later than I ever expected. Gotta say that I was greatly surprised and, truly, honored to have made it into the final 8-ish; still hard to believe. My very sincere and humble thanks to everyone who made that possible at one point or another, for whatever reason they decided to do so (hopefully at least something to do with my writing most days).

It's been a lot of fun-- writing / writing for LJ always is-- and I've been very grateful to be allowed to continue on as long as I have. This has been the first LJI season in which I haven't willfully "killed myself" (or tried) before being definitively voted out, and it's also the first season in which I've been damn proud of every last entry I've written without exception.

So, I've thought about it some... without going into a bunch of other details no one gives a toss about, I think this is probably as good a place as any to end my own involvement in LJI altogether, with this account or any other, going forward (into its "final season," yeah, yeah... I'll believe that when I see it too).

Read: the next time you accuse PTW of having an alt in the form of a suspicious newly-created account, it might actually be her. And yes, I'm sad about it even if none of you are, but... it's time.

I am still occasionally posting at my real / "main" journal, lossfound, and I will once again take this opportunity to welcome anyone here over there if you'd really like us to bidirectionally get to know each other better. (Just be patient for my next login there to see your friending req - it may be a while.)

Thanks again to clauderainsrm, to everyone who read and voted for whatever it was I did in this thing, and to everyone who wrote content that truly entertained me this round (not a small number of folks). A sincere "best of luck" to the remaining future winners maybe is you!
OAK BRIGGS

because you can't know everything

I know you're surely tired of long, detailed, linear-reading-required entries. Everyone's attention span is so much shorter nowadays.

So I'll just take a few moments to address a few fairly open secrets about life, the universe, etc. They can be read in whole or in part, and mostly in any order, if you're that jacked up on 5-Hour Energy Drink or something. I can't know if any of these open secrets will be news to you or even useful to you, but... hey, you never know.

I used to do LJI as the_day_setup, and also as mc_lji... and (for most of one season) as srs_bidness.

Breaking Bad is really a damn good TV show. I know you're tired of hearing it from everywhere, I know. But honestly, damn.

Miley Cyrus's televised "acts" in weeks prior were nothing new, nothing newsworthy, and are the unmistakable textbook actions of a celebrity in their career death-throes. She will be "judging" contestants on whatever dumb Idol / Voice / America's Got Talent knockoff the networks decide to puke cheaply and directly onto the more easily-amused members of the public inside of five years.

It's OK to wear white shoes after Labor Day now. That's what I've heard, anyway. What a time we live in.

The kids these days don't give a shit about etiquette.

This was also true of the kids these days 50 years ago.

Sometimes, you're far worse off going to the doctor than not going to the doctor.

Salad isn't always that great for you. Not that I'm saying beef is.

The NSA probably doesn't care about LJI. But then again... they might.

Subsequently, you may not want to make any threats, implied or otherwise, to various federal offices as part of your entry. I'm looking at you, porn_this_way.

There may also be a deeply entrenched multinational corporate cabal conspiring to keep us reliant on gasoline and purposely inhibiting the development of alternative, sustainable propellant technologies for mass transport at every turn until it brings us to utter economic and ecological ruin. Frankly, that seems much more probable than the NSA caring about whatever porn_this_way wrote in LJI this week, but who knows.

As of this writing, you probably won't save enough money on gas over time with even the fuel-sippiest of hybrid cars to make the added cost pay off in the end. We knew this, and yet I "let" my wife buy herself a Prius this week. It's pretty nice.

Lithium-ion batteries - you know, that kind you have in your laptop, your cell phone, maybe your digital camera, or your spouse's brand new Prius - can in fact actually explode while charging. While it's definitely uncommon, it's still not, like, personal lightning-strike improbable.

I know this because it's commonly reported / subsequently laughed at... and I also know this because I had one explode in my living room this very morning as I sat on the couch. With no warning-- and with an accompanying sound like firing a shotgun in the house-- a li-ion cell shot out of the charging battery container like a blazing red bullet, ricocheted violently off the ceiling (leaving a burn / smoke mark a foot wide in a millisecond's worth of contact), and promptly bounced straight back onto the carpet as a brightly burning ember the size of my index finger.

It was a damn good thing I was there to immediately scoop it up with a nearby implement and prevent a house fire. I've already been through one too many of those in my lifetime. Now I worry about the new Prius in the garage exploding, although it probably won't.

Anyway, moving on.

Modern gas stations-- even big-name-brand ones-- can, and do, still sell gas that will "kill" your modern car. I have had personal experience with that this week, too... with my car. Nothing like dropping $50 on a tank of gas and then immediately having the previously-perfectly-running car stall at every stoplight on the way home (and then all the way to the mechanic's) as a thank-you-for-your-business.

It's actually pretty damned easy to fix a broken computer, most of the time. Same with the majority of broken cars, or so I'm told. But I left mine at the mechanic's today anyway... after I was sure I'd put out the battery fire in the living room.

They say that by 2080, the worldwide consequences of global warming will make it very difficult to grow coffee anywhere on the planet. This is a world I do not wish to contemplate.

Not to sorta echo that dumb Ashton Kutcher speech that got briefly meme-ified on the Twitterbooks a few weeks back or anything, because it's honestly something that's been on my mind a lot for the last several years and I kind of resent hearing such an important thing dumbed down and spewed out of a worthless celeb's mouth to effectively generate ad revenue in the end... but everything around you-- save for things like plant / animal life and natural geographic features-- was created by another human being.

This is one of those open secrets that remains "unknown"-- or even forcefully forgotten and re-forgotten for the entirety of our lives-- simply because the human mind does have some serious "known issues" and simply cannot process anything approaching its full repercussions for each of us as individuals.

We've done all this stuff for ourselves, and then, over and over again, we cannot understand or believe that we did it. A mental fuse blows from the strain of the comprehension current required. At that point-- and for much of our lives, actually-- whatever-it-is we're looking at becomes noise we don't have to deal with meaningfully, rather than something to deeply contemplate from every angle.

But I digress. This means that it is possible, theoretically, for you to do, create, make, be, achieve something similar or even better than anything you are currently beholding (aside from this entry, I mean, which would certainly set a low bar to surpass in quality).

Your admiration of whoever-it-is is probably, in large part, an enormous waste, if not a massive weight dragging you down from your own potential. There are no gods among men. And the people who seem to have achieved god-among-men status in the mass-public eye have largely ended up that way as a matter of sheer dumb luck.

Sure, some of them also may have / may have had talent. Big deal. There are many others who had the same talents, but not quite as much luck... and/or who failed to understand this basic yet "unknowable" premise of no-gods-among-men.

Hell, for that matter, mankind itself came up with all the "real" gods. You may beg to differ with me on that point, even if deep down you know I'm most likely right. It doesn't matter, ultimately, so never mind.

Oh, and I'm a victim of the human mind's limitations in this department too, that whole "we actually did all of this; thusly, I can too" thing. Boy, am I ever.

Being constantly saddled with frustration, regret, shame, and ultimately meaningless bullshit is way easier than thinking about what you could actually maybe possibly pull off in the world if you weren't constantly saddled with frustration / regret / shame / ultimately meaningless bullshit.

For that matter, pretty much all things in life that you care about are meaningless when you really and truly examine them on the face of things.

...And that's actually OK. One of the human mind's "known issues" is being easily fooled; another is being easily amused. There is no meaning of life, human or otherwise. But because of these longstanding, possibly-shortly-to-be-resolved-in-the-Singularity bugs in our systems, we find meaning somewhere.

Maybe it's trying to save the planet, or trying to "save souls," or save cuddly animals, or "save" some genre of the arts from its perceived demise, or save a shitton of money, or save a bunch of perceived-cool cultural relics from fates in dumpsters, or save your kids (from unhappy adulthoods, whatever it is you think will be required to actually pull that off).

I already know you'll fight me on any of these things when I say thing x / y / z does not really matter... not in the scheme of the universe. But I'm still glad it matters to you.

And, actually, I do think most of these things are actually worthwhile pursuits... because as a human, I'm also easily fooled into believing in "meaning" too. Or at least, I'm willing to be easily and repeatedly re-fooled, because it's easier than constantly facing the actual and total meaninglessness of everything. That is probably also a known mind-issue.

One of my core sources of false meaning: finding happiness, whenever fair / possible, in not causing others' unhappiness (or increased unhappiness). Y'know, that whole golden-rule thing. I kind of get off on achieving that. It's funny.

And if I've failed this fundamental tenet of my day-to-day existence by "making" you read this entry and subsequently increasing your unhappiness for reasons related to near-term boredom, I sincerely apologize. I assure you it will pass quickly.

Also, just as a reminder, your boredom and irritation do not matter at all in the scheme of the universe. You are nothing to the universe, and your whole existence will be but a fraction of a blink in its stupidly metaphorical-anthropomorphic eye.

But I'm still very sorry regardless. Really, I am.




If you're bored for some reason, and didn't get a chance last week before the poll got prematurely axed, maybe read my Week 14 entry. agirlnamedluna was all set to kick my ass outta this thing... and I understand why, as she did a totally awesome job. But honestly, justified poll ass-beatery aside, I'm still pretty proud of what I turned in too, and I think it was one of the funnier things I've done on LJ in quite a while. You may disagree... in which case I am sorry yet again... and it still doesn't matter.
OAK BRIGGS

ridin' the rails... and not afraid to ride 'em, hard

This entry has been an intersection with an INTENDED intersection with agirlnamedluna**. We originally had much bigger and more obviously collaborative plans... which were sadly dashed altogether by outsized ambitions, inflexible / unforgiving entry deadlines, and the globally-sized time zone difference between us (and some other distant parties I'd planned to rope in for the ride). But I gotta tell ya... we had a blast anyway, or at least *I* did. You can read her entry here.

EDIT: This entry assumes full familiarity with the vulgar American "street meaning" of the prompt. Look it up if yr not sure. AND I guess I will throw in a TRIGGER WARNING for anyone, y'know, icked out by that.

** and fuck you too, Gary.




In the 1940s, in the hills of West Virginia because where else, there was once a bluegrass band billing themselves as the Brown Sunset Cowboys.
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life

no, see, THEIR version goes "dun-dun-dun-dundunDUN-dun"... and MY version goes...

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This entry utilizes uhhhh "found elements" from the Week 12 entries of (in alphabetical order AND order of actual usage): agirlnamedluna, halfshellvenus, kathrynrose, lrig_rorrim, padf00t, porn_this_way, the_lettersea, and x_disturbed_x. I would have used elements of favoritebean's Week 12 entry as well, but she made said entry private before I could "sample" it. Also, since y'all were chosen as my fellow "survivors" in Week 13, I would have (bravely!) used "elements" of your Week 13 entries instead... but I waited as long as I could and none of y'all slackers had even started posting yr damn entries twelve hours before the freakin' deadline. SLACKERS.

edit: now with optional bonus entry, in which i do even more unspeakable things with your sacred words
OAK BRIGGS

results of the D minor experiment series

EXPERIMENT ONE: 63.6% of the polled sample reported that the version of the Moonlight played in D minor was sadder than the original in C# minor. These results were not statistically significant, and may have been a result of the chronologically-linear souring of emotions as, due to poor experimental design, each listener was required to listen to 15 full seconds of the C# minor nipple-tweaked version before the D minor version began. Inconclusive.

EXPERIMENT TWO: With thirteen respondents, the mean sadness index (on a scale of 1-10) was 3.42 for the first example and 4.92 for the second example (in which an improvised musical performance in D minor with incomprehensible lyrics regarding "dead animals" was added to the 30-second sample of Unkie Dunkie's timeless comedy performance). Perplexingly, despite a clear correlation between the addition of the music and increased sadness, fully 75% of the polled sample reported that the comedy routine was either non-affected or actually made funnier. Inconclusive (but may suggest a complex, paradoxical link between feelings of sadness and the increased effectiveness of standup comedy; further research required).

EXPERIMENT THREE: Inconclusive (further evil research required). 12 out of 12 respondents said their happiest childhood memories went un-ruined. ...Damn, I tried.

EXPERIMENT FOUR: 63.6% of the polled sample did not find the combination of Mozart's Requiem and Kool & the Gang's "Celebrate" to be a suitable one for festive occasions. 18.6%, however, believed the combination to be suitable for bar mitzvahs. No information available on how many respondents were actually genetic clones of A. Hitler hiding in remote South American villages (i.e. flawed experimental design). Inconclusive.
life

the empiricalest of all LJIers. people weep instantly when they see i've posted

This entry is an incredibly loose intersection (mostly, bidirectional idea-bouncing in rather disparate time zones) with alexpgp, whose entry is here. Sorry, buddy. Really sorry.


edit 8/2/13: Results and discussions of the experiments here. Thanks again to all who participated.

HYPOTHESIS: While musicians and even laypeople have associated "happy" affectations with the major modality and "sad" feelings with the minor for centuries, the saying that "D minor is the saddest of all keys" has only risen to popularity in the last three decades.

Many musicians (including this experimenter) are perplexed by the ever-intensifying suggestion that one particular minor mode should be sadder than all available others, since a minor modality is nothing more than a particular pattern of intervals above a given tonic note, and no particular fundamental frequency has ever been found to have unique, consistent, experimentally-reproducible effects upon human emotion.1 Yet this saying only grows in mainstream popularity by the year.

It is this experimenter's hope that the following experiments, as experienced by the LJI readership (known for their protracted study and appreciation of the musical arts), will either prove or disprove the veracity of D minor's alleged top ranking in some kind of not-yet-established hierarchy of minor-key sadness.




EXPERIMENT ONE

This linked thirty-second MP3 contains two fifteen-second snippets of the famously melancholic Beethoven "Moonlight" Sonata. One excerpt has been retained in the work's native key of C# minor. The other has been transposed into D minor. Both examples have been played by a computer, using a sample of the experimenter "singing" atonally in his falsetto register while lightly tweaking his nipples, staring into space imagining you, listening... listening and watching.

Listen to the excerpts and then select the example that causes you the greatest sadness. Be sure to imagine the experimenter ever-so-gently tweaking his nipples throughout.

Poll #1926581 EXPERIMENT ONE QUESTIONS

Which is the sadder of the two performances?

Example 1
4(36.4%)
Example 2
7(63.6%)




EXPERIMENT TWO

This linked one-minute MP3 contains thirty seconds of a spoken series of jokes by a professional standup comedian. This is followed by the same jokes, this time accompanied by a particularly delicate musical performance in the key of D minor.

Poll #1926582 EXPERIMENT TWO QUESTIONS

On a scale of 1 to 10, how sad were you during the first example?

Mean: 3.42 Median: 3.5 Std. Dev 1.66
1
2(16.7%)
2
2(16.7%)
3
2(16.7%)
4
3(25.0%)
5
1(8.3%)
6
2(16.7%)
7
0(0.0%)
8
0(0.0%)
9
0(0.0%)
10
0(0.0%)

On a scale of 1 to 10, how sad were you during the second example?

Mean: 4.92 Median: 4 Std. Dev 3.35
1
3(25.0%)
2
1(8.3%)
3
1(8.3%)
4
2(16.7%)
5
0(0.0%)
6
0(0.0%)
7
1(8.3%)
8
2(16.7%)
9
0(0.0%)
10
2(16.7%)

How do you feel the humor of the first example was affected by the addition of the D minor musical performance?

The humor was negatively impacted or removed
3(25.0%)
The humor was enhanced by the musical performance
5(41.7%)
The humor was not apparently affected
4(33.3%)




EXPERIMENT THREE

After reading these instructions, close your eyes and picture your happiest childhood memory as vividly as possible. After you have successfully and completely envisioned this happy event from childhood, to the point of almost reliving it in full, begin to whisper "D minor" to yourself over and over. Open your eyes and record your response after thirty seconds.

Poll #1926583 EXPERIMENT THREE QUESTIONS

Was your happiest childhood memory ruined forever by the mention of D minor?

Yes
0(0.0%)
No
12(100.0%)





EXPERIMENT FOUR

This link (Youtube content) juxtaposes a piece of music primarily in D minor with another well-known piece of music.

Poll #1926584 EXPERIMENT FOUR QUESTIONS

Would you consider this juxtaposition a suitable combination for festive occasions, such as weddings and bar mitzvahs?

Yes
2(18.2%)
No
7(63.6%)
Weddings only
0(0.0%)
Bar mitzvahs only
2(18.2%)




Thank you for your participation. Results will be published next week, and if they are sufficiently interesting, I will pursue further experiments and, of course, a conference presentation or perhaps publication in a peer-reviewed journal. I look forward to being able to solve this musical mystery of our times with your help.



1 Some anecdotal evidence exists for particular fundamental frequencies that may affect base-level biological function on an immediate level. However, experiments on this subject have also been relatively inconclusive re: the usually-claimed results of exposure.
life

soon it's further than you ever said it'd go / four stars in the Rolling Stone OHHHHHH

Today, 7/22/13, is Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokar Tsarnaev's 20th birthday! I'm sure he's having a great one, wherever he's being detained and most likely viciously beaten and tortured at every possible opportunity.



aaaand this concludes the "Playing with Fire" segment of this week's entry.

...sort of. but not really.

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Irrelevant note: The lyric quoted in this week's subject line is from Sebadoh's "Gimme Indie Rock," a [edit:] 1991 classic, released contemporaneously with the last time that anyone in the world gave two shits about Rolling Stone magazine.