conditioned humor

if a comedian is latino, black, female or fat their number will be have, invariably, their race, sex or “condition” as central topic, and all political or social commentary will revolve around their own persona. only white male comedians do free surreal humor.

and there’s a reason for that.

not what you think

i see that when people come to the US from Asia they mistakenly think the US represents the western culture and values. well, the US does not represent the western values, but their own weird ones. if you are one of those immigrants, you might be surprised to learn that i as a European immigrant am culturally pretty out of place too! (probably in the other direction, and maybe to some lessen degree than you, but pretty out of place nevertheless)

i’m the chosen one

i like it when somebody is unable to open the marmalade jar and they ask me to do it and for some reason i do it with little or no effort at all. because then i feel like king Arthur pulling Excalibur from the stone – i’m definitely the chosen one.

don’t lie

speaking of weird fruits. butternut squash. i just discovered it exists. i’ll call it “the dick fruit”. and if you don’t think it looks like one, you are just lying.

ultraviolet fruits

when i was a kid we had banana, apple, pear and orange. plus grapes in winter, and strawberries in summer.

it was pretty much one fruit, one color.

but these days there is a whole spectrum of papayas, korean melons, tangerines, micro bananas, space coconuts, and jurassic cucumbers in the supermarket.

which is fascinating. but to me they don’t fall in the “fruit” category as much as in the “thing” category.

what is this?

when you are riding the bike with no hands in the handle, not even looking forward but to somebody who’s passing by with in total relax.

when you throw a basketball from the 3 point line and you immediately know, without no doubt and maximum certainty, that the ball will make it clean to the basket.

when you are skiing backwards in a single leg, and you instinctively do your next change of weight without any effort.

(pick your own favorite sport or instrument)

what is that. what kind of superhuman muscle memory is this that we posses, where is this incredible precision coming from? how come for most of our daily tasks we are not even near to this?

“other” for me, please

I’ve been invited to a pompous dinner. I think. They sent me a form with the following list of dietary choices to fill:

[ ] Diabetic
[ ] Gluten Allergy
[ ] Halal
[ ] Kosher
[ ] Lactose Intolerant
[ ] Latex Allergy
[ ] No Red Meat
[ ] Nut Allergy
[ ] Other
[ ] Seafood Allergy
[ ] Shellfish Allergy
[ ] Vegan
[ ] Vegetarian

First, I don’t recognize half of those words (I’m not traveled enough). Second, I wasn’t expecting this to be the kind of dinner where “latex” shows up in the menu (wait, are we having dinner upstairs Madam S?).

So all I can do really is to mark the [X] in “Other” and use the blank box at the bottom of the form to indicate “RED MEAT PLEASE. Yogurt would be nice too.”

failing miserably

these are four utterly useless nuisances that, incomprehensibly, as a society we are apparently incapable of getting rid of for ever and ever, despite it should be the easiest thing ever:

* the one cent coin
* the freezing cold standards for AC systems in office buildings
* this daylight-saving winter-time depressing-dark afternoons business
* venetian blinds (american blinds)

these seems to me like easy things to avoid, prevent, abandon, discontinue, forbid, suppress, cease, terminate, abolish, eradicate, destroy and exterminate.

just . do . it . somebody please. all of us maybe. for heaven’s sake.

2222

in my experience, it takes 2 days to hack an idea, 2 weeks to prove it works, 2 months to make it production ready, and 2 years to see it succeed.

i know what you did

you know the impersonal and copy+pasted part of the email comes when, right after the first paragraph, the text suddenly changes font size and color…

88.997%, half bit!

if the two symbols (say 0 and 1) allowed in a string occur with equal probability (ie, 50%), then you need one bit per symbol to describe the string. now, how biased should the probability be in order to be able to encode the string with half a bit per symbol? i was curious, so i computed it; it seems to be 88.997% (0.88997213556164034 to be more precise)

now, the following natural question is, what’s the shape of the graph relating bit rate to symbol probability? i computed it too, and not surprisingly, it looks like this:

relatively universal

all cultures think their food tastes are universal.

the other day an american was surprised when i told him that i didn’t like bacon. he then replied, in an adorable ingenuity, that it must be just me, that everybody everywhere loves bacon.

the smell of rain

i love the smell of rain. when i smell it, the first thing that comes to my mind is home. and childhood. which is a sweet feeling. but soon after that, my thoughts comes to the present. and then i realize how much i really like the smell of rain for real, not for the nostalgia. i love it now, and here. it’s fresh and pure. and it makes me happy.

learning

when i was 11 or so i learnt what “voltage” is.

i used to build things by soldering cables and resistors and LEDs and build small circuits (following instructions at first, later doing my own designs which were pretty simple of course). at some point in those early days i remember asking myself why was i sticking to 9V batteries and not using the electricity sockets in the walls, just like the TV set was doing. so i plugged the little LED + resistor to the 220V socket in the wall and i blew the fuses of my house, burn the LED and got a 2 seconds electrocution that felt like an intense bite in my fingers all simultaneously. it was intense (no pun intended), and from there on i started reading about voltage and having a deeper understanding of basic electronics. and more importantly, i learn to never stick anything in those sockets or touch non isolated wires with my bare fingers ever again.

now, the plugs of my apartment have a little plastic protection to prevent kids from going through the same experience. and i guess that is good. but a little old-and-grumpy-man’s voice inside me feels that maybe it’s preventing kids from learning a powerful lesson? isn’t there some vaccine effect in the experience? nah. maybe i lost too many neurons in those experiences and i can’t reason clearly anymore.

disappointed myself

sometimes i think i’m fucked up.

the other day i saw a guy in the train with (i assume) a birth defect who had very tiny tiny arms and malformed hands, which clearly made functioning in life normally impossible. but rather than feeling sorry for him for not being able to write an email or drive a car or get a drink, my first though was of pity for his inability to reach his dick. i felt so weirdly (and somehow fascinatedly) like crap for the next half hour.

should not be a noun

i’m sorry, i don’t consider “entrepreneur” and “innovator” to be valid job titles.

i tend to think they shouldn’t even be nouns but just verbs or adjectives. anyways, in my humble opinion, if you are giving one of those job titles to yourself you are either lying or not understanding how innovation works. i think.

too late

if you haven’t completed your moral and intellectual homework by, say, age 21… then you’ll have to live by media ads and cheese online inspirational quotes. and don’t you dear lecture the rest of the people around you – you’ll sound foolish but probably nobody will have the courage to tell you!