My Guilty Pleasure…Maybe

I’ve got to admit, Carly Rae Jepsen’s song Call Me Maybe is very enjoyable. It makes me want to ovulate and write Mr. John Beckinsale everywhere inside a notebook. I’m going to shave with a steak knife to feel like a man again.

I’ve got to admit, Carly Rae Jepsen’s song “Call Me Maybe” is very enjoyable.  It makes me want to ovulate and write “Mr. John Beckinsale” everywhere inside a notebook.  I’m going to shave with a steak knife to feel like a man again.

How can you not like this song?  I once read of a psychological study where participants were given a list of movies to watch.  The list of movies consisted of some light stories (e.g. something fun like “The Avengers”) and some heavy stories (e.g. a little “Schindler’s List”).  Nearly all of the participants started with the light movies and held off on the heavy stuff until the end of the study.  People prefer to start with the things that are easy.  It’s a lot less of a commitment to sit through anything that is certainly going to be easier to digest.

The amount of satisfaction a person gets from enjoying deeply emotional and thought-provoking art could be much greater than breezing through something bubblegum pop.  I totally go d-bag hipster for some Heart of Darkness.  Art can demand that you open up, dig deep, and journey your way up to a new perspective.

But most of the time, I’m honestly not in the mood for a life changing.  I want orange soda, not whiskey.  Did I ask you to make me cry?  Not today Clapton.  Jerk.

My previous guilty pleasure was Katy Perry’s “Firework.”  She doesn’t have a voice I particularly care for…but she’s got boobies.  Seriously, the song is simply fun.  No one pontificates about the lyrics or the notes that are played.  The only thing that demands to be appreciated is the sight of fireworks igniting out of Katy Perry’s boobage.  I can sit through that.

So, I Finally Found a Friend

I named her Faye. It was April Fool’s Day and windier than the space between my ears. A feral cat was raped a few months earlier and then gave birth to a litter of Snows in my abandoned dog house. When I found her bastards, the mom panicked and started moving the nest.

I named her Faye. 

Faye on lap

It was April Fool’s Day and windier than the space between my ears.  A feral cat was raped a few months earlier and then gave birth to a litter of Snows in my abandoned dog house.  When I found her bastards, the mom panicked and started moving the nest.

My goal was to find the mom’s new nest, feed the family until I gain their trust, and then catnap everyone for a good ‘ole fashioned spay/neutering.  The kittens were so young that I felt it was better for them to stay with their mom for a couple more weeks, despite her possible psychological fragility from the earlier sexual assault.  Sadly for everyone, I couldn’t find where she relocated to.  There was one baby left by the time the sun started setting.  I waited for hours and the weather kept getting worse as the last kitten kept getting cuter.  So, I decided to adopt.

Have you ever bottle-fed a kitten before?  It’s like cuddling a cute and fully stocked needle cushion.  Faye would drink milk until her belly bloated bigger than her head. It freaked me out, so I took her to the vet for a wellness check.  She turned out to be okay.  But, I found out kittens can’t poop on their own.  It was now my job to molest her genitals with a moist cotton swab until she cleared the plumbing.  I was not fond of the daily doody duty.

Kittens are dirty.  They are messy eaters and can’t preen themselves well.  Faye particularly likes to spill milk all over her front half, and smear poo all over her back half.  When a wipe down with a damp cloth wasn’t clean enough, it was bath time.

Faye taking a bath

It’s cute when animals are wet.  I think it’s the transformation of going from a fluffy fatty to a soggy skinny.  Some cats even enjoy being in water.  I’ve seen videos of cats playfully pawing around during warm baths.  Faye is not one of those cats.

Faye screaming during a bath

One important fact I’ve learned is that very young kittens can’t regulate their own body temperature.  They need help keeping warm.  Usually, kittens snuggle up against their mom and siblings for warmth.  Since Faye’s a lone orphan, she’d settle for my lap, my dog, a nice blanket, or…

Faye sleeping on power adapter

I’ve got other really fun pictures and stuff of Faye.  I’ll share some of it in another post later.  =)

The Dunning-Kruger Effect

The pinnacle virtue taught in America is to have confidence. No one will believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself. So, why do you think that guy in the corner office stinks of arrogance? It’s more than his cheap cologne you’re choking on.

The pinnacle virtue taught in America is to have confidence.  No one will believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself.  So, why do you think that guy in the corner office stinks of arrogance?  It’s more than his cheap cologne you’re choking on.

While at Cornell University, David Dunning and Justin Kruger performed a series of experiments under the hypothesis that “people tend to hold overly favorable views of their abilities in many social and intellectual domains.”  This cognitive bias of illusory superiority has become known as the Dunning-Kruger Effect.  The interesting insight discovered through their experiments was that “paradoxically, improving the skills of participants, and thus increasing their metacognitive competence, helped [participants] recognize the limitations of their abilities.”

People who are not skilled in a particular area tend to overestimate their competence, whereas people with developed skill and training tend to underestimate their level of competence.  The most poignant observation to take away is that there’s a giant valley of difference between confidence and competence.

The overly confident people who overestimated their own knowledge were not off by a small margin.  They were way off base.  When tested in humor, grammar, and logic their scores placed them at the 12th percentile while they personally estimated themselves to be in the 62nd percentile.  The participants did not foolishly estimate themselves to be far superior to their peers, but it’s shocking just how inaccurate they were in terms of their own skill.

Here is what’s scary about the Dunning-Kruger Effect — Those who overestimate their own level of skill also fail to recognize genuine skill in others.  The poor performers in the bottom percentiles also have difficulty learning from feedback suggesting a need to improve.  Simply, ignorance knows no bounds.  If you are grossly inaccurate in your self-assessments, you’re also blind to other people’s talents and will likely be stunting your own personal growth.

One perspective that has forever shaped mine is that the “purpose of an education is to replace an empty mind with an open one.” (Malcom S. Forbes).  With the prevalence of social media, we are becoming more accustomed to sharing our views.  But we are trading resonance for repetition.  We tweet by fleeting instants rather than well understood insights.

A popular quote by Will Smith has spread through the social media avenues.  One of the world’s most successful actors states, “If you’re absent during my struggle, don’t expect to be present during my success.”  Will Smith’s words only apply to those who are highly successful – it’s only relevant to people like Will Smith.  If you’re a Joe Shmoe and flaunting this quote, you sound pretentious.

I highly admire Will Smith.  I grew up listening to his music and watching all of his early sitcom glory.  He turned down an ivy league education to pursue his dreams and eventually became the first hip hop artist to win a Grammy Award.  Smith’s now famous quote though is divisive.  And, it’s meant to be.  He lives in a world where too many fake people pander to him in order to leech off of his celebrity.  He needs to differentiate between the leeches that will suck him dry and those nurturing people who will grow alongside him as decent human beings.

Tell me, honestly, how many hands are in your cookie jar?  Seriously, do you even feel like you have enough cookies to go around?

We can only see far because we stand on the shoulders of giants.  It is concerning that people are defining their perspectives upon the twitter streams of famous actors.  Celebrities are surrounded by people who either worship them or are opportunistically pining for help earning money.  They are the 1%.  Those of us in the 99% who adhere to phrases like “if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best” (from Marilyn Monroe) are suffering from an astonishing overestimated self-assessment.

Our perspectives are defined through borrowed words.  Dunning and Kruger quoted Charles Darwin’s belief that “ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge” as a motivation for their observations.  They have also quoted Bertrand Russell saying “One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision.”  Standing upon the words of these giants, Dunning and Kruger were moved into action and eventually won the Nobel Prize in Psychology for their research.

There is nothing wrong with defining your values and principles through the words of celebrities.  I merely ask, “How does it guide your actions?”  Where does a world famous actor’s words lead you?

The spiral toward gross incompetence and jarringly inaccurate overestimated self-assessments is almost uniquely an American phenomenon.  Every other developed nation is advancing exponentially beyond every accomplishment America once touted so dearly.  While our culture always believes that confidence is key, the rest of the world is progressing through a culture of underestimating their abilities with an aim toward improvement and camaraderie.

The silver lining is that through minimal training we can greatly improve our ability to estimate our own level of skill we had previously lacked.  The cloud is that overconfidence keeps us unreceptive to helpful feedback.  If you really need to gauge your skill in anything, the easiest place to start is from zero.  An admission to knowing what you do not know is the most respectable virtue.  The more accurately we can see where we currently stand, the better we can aim toward the success we would like to be.

Meh…but what do I know about anything…

Have I Met You Before?

Apparently, I’ve got a distinct face. My name is so common that people are always texting the wrong John Kim. Yet, people seem to remember me. Half the time I meet people I always hear, “Have I met you before? You look really familiar…”

Troy McClure

You might remember me from such things like “Nose No Love” or “Skinny Bones Jones and the Lost Cheeseburger.”

 

Apparently, I’ve got a distinct face.  My name is so common that people are always texting the wrong John Kim.  Yet, people seem to remember me.  Half the time I meet people I always hear, “Have I met you before?  You look really familiar…”

I met Felicia Day twice.  She’s always moving in slow motion with a breeze romancing her auburn hair.  Even though the Queen Bee of Geeks meets with herds of adoring fans, Felicia Day remembered me.  The second time I awkwardly posed for a photo with her, she said “Hey, I’ve met you before.  You have a distinct face.  It’s a good thing.”  Really?  I don’t know.  Clint Howard has a distinct face, but I guess it’s good to be memorable.  Should I try acting?

I think it’s my Jewish nose.  It’s not often you see a ski slope at the center of a Korean face.  Or maybe it’s my asymmetric eyes.  I’m always winking like a destitutely pre-spinached Popeye.  I kind of wish my familiarity were only for my gigantic Chiclet teeth.  Moses could have etched 40 commandments if he scribed on my front chompers.  I don’t often wander aimlessly smiling like I should be wearing a helmet with an orange flag on top, so it’d be nice to have the option of blending in with the wallpaper.

Popeye

I’m mostly noticed for how skinny I am.  My skin is computer tanned a perfect pale white.  Masted with a nose like a boat’s sail, I post attention like a waving flag of surrender.  Wind is not my friend.

Did you have any nicknames as a child?  Everyone called me Toucan Sam or Gonzo.  The real curse was that my bullies always smelled like soggy stray dogs after a rotted burrito binge and ravaged raping of a homeless man’s only good leg.  Fortunately, I’m a gold medalist black belt in Tae Kwon Do with a mean right hook.  My bullies stayed few and far between.  Nobody stole my Froot Loops.

[fve]http://youtu.be/sZsjVlaIhcc[/fve]

Whatever it is about my eccentric appearance that scars your memory, I’m coming to terms with being a faint Freddy strolling your Elm Street.  If you see me on a Saturday strutting like John Travolta on a trampoline, stop and say “Hi!”  I’m friendlier than my distinct face wards off.  Just don’t tickle me.  Gonzo’s a muppet. Elmo is two blocks down to the left on Sesame Street.

John

It’s Always the Other Guy

Every artist needs a tiny bit of self-deprecation. I can at least call myself an artist in that one respect. I always start my next project trying to do something that I haven’t done before, and finish a project thinking…”man, this could be better.” I live a carrot on a stick life with very few small victories in between.

I’m creative and I hate myself.

Every artist needs a tiny bit of self-deprecation.  I can at least call myself an artist in that one respect.  I always start my next project trying to do something that I haven’t done before, and finish a project thinking…”man, this could be better.”  I live a carrot on a stick life with very few small victories in between.

Cinema 4D is still fairly new to me, yet I was feeling like my boots were finally starting to settle comfortably.  I mean, I could make a shiny cube and spin it in circles.  EZ Cake.

The second after I felt like I was reaching the top of the learning curve, I found this:

[fve]http://player.vimeo.com/video/33174546?portrait=0[/fve]

Mother…F’n…Paul Clements is a bauce.

My favorite part of this piece is how it clearly shows that art is mostly about executing the concept well rather than brainstorming an “original” idea.  In 3 seconds, the premise is established.  The overall sexy and sleek execution kept me around to watch the rest.

As cool as Paul Clements‘ piece is, it’s easy to overlook and not fully appreciate his work.  Here’s where his breakdown video comes in:

[fve]http://player.vimeo.com/video/35145361?title=0&byline=0&portrait=0[/fve]

Pure gold!

Even if you’re not familiar with Cinema 4D, the breakdown video is easy to follow.  Paul Clements unequivocally shows how each element was developed, step by step.  In my opinion, the breakdown video is a lot more fun to watch than the actual piece itself.

 

It’s always the other guy that makes something cool.  I never drag my feet through difficulties, but Paul Clements‘ breakdown video is like a real good punch in the face.  He’s a master.  Sho-nuff.  I’m still struggling through amateur hour at open mic night.

Ugh.  It’s back to the drawing board for me.