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Resolving Unresolved Resolutions

Guest Post by Cael Kalbrandt

 

It’s January 8th, high time to assess the damage done to your New Year’s Resolutions. Come on, be honest: have any of them even made it this far?

Didn’t think so. And don’t bother denying you made any. Even the half-hearted ones count for the purpose of this little treatise.

new years resolutions

Changing Digits

It’s human nature to ride the current of a momentous change. When your whole world is upset, for good or for bad, the ensuing chaos makes it easier to introduce other changes. Or you dig in and hold on to what you know. Humanity is fickle…

For some unfathomable reason, changing a digit on a calendar is considered so momentous, it warrants making radical changes. Never mind that the digits on the calendar change all the time. Every. Single. Day. Yet for some people it’s impossible to quit smoking on October 3rd or start going to the gym on April 25th.

Fair enough, I say. If January 1st is genuinely the only opportunity you see to make changes in your life, take it. It would be a waste to sleep off your hangover, wake up on the 2nd and realise you’ll be stuck in this rut for another 364 days! 365, even, if it’s a leap year.

Articles, Blog

Where Has The Horror Gone?

In the age of mass media, horror enthusiasts needn’t go to a bookstore or cinema to get their fix. And for once, it’s not the Internet that is to blame.

horror

A Dying Fire

Every day and every night, the syndicate news channels spew one horror story after another. There is enough drama to satisfy our every craving for fear and terror. And should the world fail to be on fire, the news writers add drama to whatever is happening with a few choice words: calling a collision a “car accident” doesn’t turn any heads, but “disaster” still gets a response.

It’s no secret that we are desensitising at an alarming rate. Hundreds get killed in a natural cataclysm, yet we shrug and check our Facebook status. News outlets desperately try to fan the flames of this dying fire by using ever more superlatives, but fact remains that the number of people who give f*** all about anything is dwindling faster than ever before.

You can only fan a flame so many times before it starves.

Horrific Methods

Unfortunately, the horror side of the entertainment industry feeds off that same dying fire. The audience isn’t scared – or even mildly uneasy – unless they care. Unless they empathise with at least one of the characters and their situation. The artists’ job is to make them care. Feed the fire, as it were.

But that has become an uphill battle in all media.

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Comparing Virtues – Part 2: Watching TV

Last time in this modern debate of reading a book versus watching TV, we discussed some of the benefits and problems of reading books.

Now it is time to take the argument to the screen.

Photo: espensorvik via Flickr

Effortless Entertainment

More than anything, watching TV is effortless. Where computer games require interaction and movement (of your thumbs, at the very least), TV doesn’t even require you to stay awake.

You sit, you consume,

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Comparing Virtues – Part 1: Reading

The moving screen is an enthralling thing. We all know the hypnotic qualities of the TV and computer, and how they capture us when really we should – or want – to be doing something else. The little angel and the little devil on our shoulders start arguing: start reading one of those unread books, or just flop down on the couch in front of the TV?

Books by Les Chatfield via Flickr

Our conscience can debate the issue forever (usually while our eyes are glued to a screen), but as in an debate, there are pros and cons to both options.

In this first post, let’s argue the case for reading.

Full Control

When you read, your brain translates the black-on-white squiggles to full-colour images. You decide what you see – and what you don’t. Your imagination is more seamless than the best CGI, the main characters can look any way you want them to, and skipping icky scenes is easier when you don’t need to peer between your fingers to see if they’re over yet.

Despite the apparent dullness of words on paper,

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The Pain Game

Not quite the blogpost I had planned for today, but clear thinking is impossible when you’re repeatedly curled up in foetal position for days on end. However, that little setback did put me in the perfect position to study the mind’s response to pain. Especially excruciating pain…

pain game - excruciating pain and how it affects the mind
Photo: Vincent Bozzo

A bout of enteritis brougth on some terrible and very painful cramps. They were only cramps, I kept telling myself. But even “only cramps” proved sufficient to hotwire my brain.

In short, my body threw a Happy Potter-style Cruciatus Curse on itself. This is what it did.