Archive for the ‘randomness’ Tag

Mystery on Isle of Dogs

There were suspiciously few dogs on the so-called “Isle of Dogs” last weekend. And I only hope to dear God my camera read this wrong.

Must have blinked and missed a word. Either way, there are absent pieces in this sordid puzzle.

Meanwhile downtown, a White Horse has gone missing. He left this eloquent note to explain his absence:

Phew. No need to fear animal disposal this time. “Kick up the arse” sounds horsey enough to me, too. It can’t be some shadow-written sham.

Two valuable lessons in animal conversation.

1. You’ve got to watch which words you miss out. Or you’ll be misread between the lines.

2. It’s best to be clear and direct. Especially if you’ve got nothing to hide and something relevant to say.

Previously: talking to chihuahuas. Seriously: Chris Wilson’s Human Talk. Sincerely: responses to bad, automated humanspeak.

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At Home with Blood on the Tracks

Some things scare the waking shit out of commuters.

Improv Everywhere do lots of those things, including this recent stunt in Prague.

Transplant a living room onto the rush hour subway and something happens. Groggy bystanders get a little less comfortable. You’ve broken down the cosy, walled-in world of iPod shuffling and free paper flicking.

Do I want a free paper? No thanks. But chances are I’ll have to sit on one when I next board a tube in London.

The Decapitator has been lopping free papers off at the head to help save your ass. David Beckham and Motorola get the treatment here and, once again, commuters get a loud wake up call. (Thanks to Giles for the link.)

So, I put it to you: are we too headless on the underground?

What can we do to change it?

Grrr Woof Meow Please

Put yourself on the paws of a chihuahua. The Mexican jibes are probably bad enough. But even when you’re not faced with xenophobes, punks talk down to you all day. Why can’t these oversized thugs learn some manners? Let’s go back to school: how to communicate with animals.

Lesson 1: Look an animal in the eye. Talk to that animal on their level. Stop being so condescending.

This is a smart piece of work by Belgian agency 10 (via Ads of the World). If we can make the effort to talk to feet on a level, animals deserve more grace.

Lesson 2: Speak to them in their language. You expect a Venezuelan to understand Russian? A footballer to “get” Tolstoy? Alan Shearer to develop a fashion vocabulary?

This was a lovely pick by Chris Wilson (I haven’t met or spoken to Chris yet, and I hope this in itself isn’t bad etiquette). He puts it well. People don’t like to be barked at.

Neither do animals. Well, I guess dogs do, when they’re in a bark mood. But they might be more up for a grrr.

Unless you look that chihuahua right in its beady eye, you’ll never know. 

Black Swan in the Rain

Pick, pack, pock, puck. Rain beats a rhythm and it changes the pulse.

Caught outdoors by the rain, people get wired. With a clear sky, they were flapping aimlessly like loose ends in the gentle breeze.

But steady rain snaps you into your circuit board. What were you doing? Where where you going? Well, do it quick and get going. Or it’s drowned rat o’clock.

Stand still in the street and you’re dead. Umbrella spokes zip past at guillotine height. Every man for himself. Selfishness rules the road. An electric chorus of angry.

I saw something different this time last year in Rio de Janeiro, staying on the Praia de Botafogo. It was Autumn and it didn’t rain much. But when it rained, you moved fast. Because it rained hard.

Everyone moved to the mall when it rained. It was the biggest sheltered public space.

Everyone was wet. Real wet. But they weren’t angry. Because it would just happen. It was relatively unpredictable, but they always knew what to do when it happened. Get to the mall.

Once they were there, and big numbers went there, it sparked random connections. Old friends would spot then snap each other with their mobiles in the glimpse of an escalator ride.

Click. Stop. The words are scampering too fast. What could any of this mean?

1. Running in the rain can make you a jerk-off (to bastardise an insight of Nassim Nicholas Taleb). Find shelter and watch the sparks fly. You’ll be constantly surprised.

2. Get drenched? It doesn’t matter when randomness brings you together with friends. And the black swan – the unpredictable high-impact event – can do that spectacularly.

(This post is available in very very amateur 3D, in case you’re still wondering about the doodles above.)