tuesday nostalgia

Hello, readers.

It occurred to me, as it often does, how my life divides itself around moments. For example, it’s been 18 years since Buffy premiered on the WB. Which is a longer amount of time than I had been alive at the time of that premiere, which I didn’t actually watch. I didn’t start watching until a few episodes in. For shame.

Also, this happened in Seoul, during protests surrounding the sinking of the Sewol Ferry, this being the anniversary of that.

Speaking of anniversaries, Facebook, and companies like Timehop, enjoy reminding us that every day is the anniversary of something.

Nostalgia was originally thought of as a mental illness. Swiss doctor Johannes Hofer coined the term in 1688, combining a pair of Greek words: nostos (homecoming) and algos (pain). Nostalgia, in other words, was homesickness — an affliction suffered by Swiss students and soldiers who went abroad. Some doctors of the era considered it a “hypochondria of the heart,” and thought it could be cured by shaming sufferers until they stopped feeling nostalgia, or by covering them with leeches. If nostalgia got bad enough, some believed, it was possible to die from it.

Now, less so.

The researchers began bringing people into their lab and trying to trigger nostalgia, sometimes by showing them certain photos or playing certain songs, but most often just by asking them to write about fond memories. Their stories almost always involved social memories, created with friends or family years ago — and when surveyed afterward, participants reported feeling significantly more loved and connected with others, and had higher levels of self-esteem, compared with a control group.

The above come from “The Nostalgia Machine” by Joseph Stromberg.

It’s funny to think that a long time ago, in more or less this galaxy, people couldn’t see their past. And then they learned to draw, and they could see a representation of it. And then they took pictures, and that was still a representation, much in the way that film and sound and, I suppose, tweets or posts are. There’s a whole Radiolab episode about time and objects and the tangibile intangibles of things, including email.

I just finished listening to a Mutant Enemy Reunion podcast done by the Nerdist Writers’ Panel.

Once, I told someone that Joss Whedon was the most important man in my life that I never met. This is probably true.

See you next time, readers.


the occasional table

Hello, readers.

It’s blue and white outside, and the couch upon what I sit is a very mustardy yellow. My blanket is orange. Very soon I’ll chat with my sister on the video phone. Her being in the U.S. I being in the not U.S.

Yesterday, EG pointed out to me the existence of a thing known as THE OCCASIONAL TABLE. As in, that is what side/coffee/WHATEVER tables are often called. As in, this is my new favorite thing to know because, if you read this blog a lot, you are possibly aware that my understanding of reality is occasional. Not so much in that I occasionally understand reality (though this is also true, and probably the frequency of my understanding of reality is muchmuch less often than occasional), but in that I believe reality to only occasionally exist. Call it quantum theory. Or my inability to commit. Still. Anyway.


Does it occasionally exist? Is it a structure that is only occasionally a table? What makes a table a table and not a flat, horizontal thing on top of four thin, vertical things? Aren’t all tables occasional? If I use a desk sometimes as a table, does this mean it’s an occasional desk, or an occasional table?

I could do this for hours. Best suited for the video blog, though, as then you can see me smile while I do it.

In other news, of which there usually is.

Hank profiled his brother John Green for Vanity Fair on the occasion (the OCCASIONAL JOHN GREEN!) of John being #36 on Vanity Fair’s list of the new establishment. It’s sweet and awesome and if you wanted a brief overview of the history of nerd fighting, well, this is very brief.

In other, other news, of which there is also usually a fair amount.

Twitter wants to make reporting abuse easier and the environment that much more delightful.

Here are 100 notable books as notabled by the New York Times.

Chris Rock said things of smart. Particularly enjoyed his statement that the phrase black progress is not entirely all that smart as whatever progress has been made, it’s for more likely and actual that white people are the ones doing the progressing in terms of being less systematically stupid.

So, to say Obama is progress is saying that he’s the first black person that is qualified to be president. That’s not black progress. That’s white progress.

Happy Occasional Wednesday, readers.