March 4th, 2007

bear by san

farewell and adieu, oh you ladies of spain

Ooo, I love this one too much to wait for the roundup post. All y'all who mentioned thinking the style of Carnival was a little plain [as compared to the pupuritude of Whiskey & Water, say], here's somebody who found it purple to the tits.

Man, all those years working on my prosody and rhetoric. Into the oubliette with you!



(This linked here not as an assault against the reviewer, who is totally within hir rights to find the book unbearably overwritten, but as an example of what I mean when I say you are damned in you do and damned if you don't. And because I find it entertaining. And because this is what I mean when I step up with Ricky Nelson and say, you can't please everybody.

Pick one person, and write for them. If you pick the right one, a bunch of other people will agree with their taste.)



Or to quote Shakespeare:

 TOUCHSTONE
I am here with thee and thy goats, as the most capricious
poet, honest Ovid, was among the Goths.

 JAQUES
(aside) O knowledge ill-inhabited, worse than Jove in a
thatched house.

 TOUCHSTONE
When a man's verses cannot be understood nor a man's
good wit seconded with the forward child, understanding,
it strikes a man more dead than a great reckoning in a little
room. Truly, I would the gods had made thee poetical.

 AUDREY
I do not know what “poetical” is. Is it honest in deed and
word? Is it a true thing?

 TOUCHSTONE
No, truly, for the truest poetry is the most feigning, and
lovers are given to poetry, and what they swear in poetry
may be said as lovers they do feign.

 AUDREY
Do you wish then that the gods had made me poetical?
 
 TOUCHSTONE
I do, truly, for thou swear'st to me thou art honest. Now, if
thou wert a poet, I might have some hope thou didst feign.

--Shakespeare, As You Like It, III:iii

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talk amongst yourself

I blame mevennen and elfshot for this post. And everybody who commented on my post about having a weird brain.[1]

Not only do I have a weird brain. I have an overclocked one. It does not do downtime. What it does do is recreational chewing, like a cow chewing its cud.

This is cud.[11]

I'm going to try to be linear here for a moment, and provide some context for folks. I dunno how much all y'all know about right brain/left brain divides, or the various ways in which they can work (generally speaking, the left brain is analytical/linear/deductive; the right brain is intuitive/spontaneous/inductive, but that is a generality and full of exceptions)
and the variety of people in the standard person's head.[2]

There's a lot of us in here. [3]

It's just that for most people, the strongly left-brain dominant and usually right-handed majority (here's a quicky test for hemispheric dominance.) [6]  the dominant force is that linear cognitive style. [4] The subconscious/intuitive/inductive side of the mind, which is both more creative (more capable of associating freely and spontaneously) and capable of processing vast amounts of information. It's what you see, but perhaps do not realize you see.[10]

When somebody visits a hypnotist in an attempt to recover a lost memory, it is this side of the brain they are attempting to engage.[9]

Sherlock Holmes, for example, seems to me to be almost certainly a strongly left-brained, highly intelligent person with lowered latent inhibition. Because he has LLI: he notices everything. No filters. Because he is cognitively gifted (and possibly, frankly, a bit of an autistic savant) he also remembers everything, and he is capable of parsing it all into patterns, when for a lesser mind it would be an overwhelming barrage of information.[7]

In fact, when deprived of that barrage of information, he becomes self-consuming in search of stimulation.[8]

[example: when I say that my thought process is nonlinear and must be translated, the above was written in the order indicated by the bracket numbers. No, really.]

Generally speaking, the right brain controls the left half of the body, and vice versa--except the eyes, which are hard-wired to the hemisphere on the side they are on. (Ears too? I dunno, and too lazy to look it up right this sec. Major sensory systems, let's say.)

I had lunch today with two friends, one of whom is a stroke survivor with some significant left-brain disability. We got to talking about brain function, and I got to describing my weird brain.

See, I'm a profoundly (greater than 90%: ) right-brained person who is also right-handed (and always has been: I'm not one of the conversion cases) but who is not a picture thinker and whose primary communication style is linguistic. But not, I must say, verbal.

The written word.

I have some cognitive gifts and some cognitive disabilities (discalculia, for one) and a better-than-average level of processing power. [It's weird to talk about this kind of stuff, because socially, we're not supposed to. And I never really have, before, in public. But different does not equal better, of course: it just means different.] But the most interesting thing about my brain is that, while, for some freakist reason I'm not left-handed, I can watch my hemispheres trade off.

And so can you.

You see, if you sever the corpus callosum of a normal human brain, you in essence make two people. The dominant left hemisphere retains most control. But here's the tricky thing: you can teach the right hemisphere things that the left hemisphere does not know. And in that case, you may see truly freakish things.

Because the right brain does not have language, or does not have *much* language. [My friend Marie retained pronouns, of all things, after her catastrophic brain injury.] But it has pictures and kinesthetics and it can read, even if it cannot speak.

And when it knows something that the left brain doesn't know, it will take action.

Have you ever wanted to walk forward, but been rooted to the spot? That's a hemispherical argument in action. You think you know what you want. But all you actually know is what the top couple of percent of the linear left hemisphere have decided. The right brain, and the deeper left brain, have profound pattern sensing abilities, and they will notice and click on things that the conscious/linear/deductive left brain cannot put into words.

Those things are no less real.

They are just linguistically inaccessible.

In someone whose brain has been surgically subdivided, you may see some truly freaky things. For example, the left hand reaching out to catch and redirect the right hand when the left hand knows something the right hand doesn't.

If are or if you know somebody who gets clumsy when they are thinking hard? Chances are you are witnessing a right/left argument.

But because this post is tagged "narcissism," back to me.

As I said, my brain is weird. The brains of most left-handers are weird, because it's not that left-handers are, as the joke goes, in their right minds. Rather, left-handers spread function over both sides. They are not well-differentiated. (Some studies suggest that also women tend to have stronger left/right communication than men, which is to say more corpus callosum.) Left-handers balance across hemispheres, and may have greater *conscious* access to that subconscious processing power.

But, like Inigo Montoya and the Man In Black, I am not left-handed.

If you ever find yourself in a position to watch me talk, watch my hands. And you will notice something very interesting. When I am explaining something, I gesture with my left hand. Usually in slow, syncopated circles, as if spooling the words out of myself.

But when I reach a definition, or a proper noun, I switch to my right hand.

And when I am describing integrative processes, I use both.

And if I forcibly *restrain* my right hand? My proper-noun aphasia, which is always kind of profound, becomes unconquerable. I cannot think of names.

Most people who are highly right-brained are left-handed. Many people who are highly right-brained are also picture thinkers. But I'm not either.

My learning process, the only one that works for me, is to attempt practicum, and then study theory. I have to try it with my hands. and then I have to intellectualize. "Don't think about it," isn't advice that works for me. If I don't understand why, I can't understand how, and if I don't understand how, then why slips through my fingers. This is why my preferred communication style is written. Because when I write--either longhand or on a keyboard--I am thinking with my hands.

The keyboard is better, because I am thinking with BOTH hands. [I suspect that something to do with this cognitive style is also the root of my homophone typo issue.] Left brain AND right brain.

And this is why I've spent fifteen years learning to tell a story that works on levels most people can appreciate, and why I often find written works that others adore shallow and unengaging. And why it's always a struggle for me to distill the things in any given narrative that interest me into a form that others can appreciate.
criminal minds fate

i don't care how long it takes; you're not to blame

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[we pause here to note that the cat has stolen my keys and is batting them around the living room.]

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Anyway.

Brain squirrels.

Sorry.



*I badly wanted to become a Third Watch fan, but when it began airing I was living with somebody who hated cop shows, and it wasn't worth the arguments to get to watch it. I about adored the three or five episodes I saw, though.
bear by san

(no subject)

via jonquil

Go here. Read this.

Context is a bitch:
AUSTIN, TEX. — Even if you try to look past the eight-metre-high chain-link fence, beyond the scores of uniformed guards patrolling the perimeter and away from the cameras, metal detectors and lasers, there isn't the slightest evidence of children inside the T. Don Hutto Family Detention Center.

No one is playing outside; there are no sounds of laughter.

But inside the thick, whitewashed walls of this former maximum-security prison in the heart of Texas are about 170 children — including a nine-year-old Canadian boy named Kevin.