Strange Things That Interest Me

abnormal psychology

I’m not sure why I am fascinated by folks whose brains don’t function within the realm of what psychologists would call “normal,” unless it’s a concern I might be one of their number. As Wikipedia puts it, “Abnormal psychology is the scientific study of abnormal behavior in order to describe, predict, explain, and change abnormal patterns of functioning. Abnormal psychology in clinical psychology studies the nature of psychopathology, its causes, and its treatments. Of course, the definition of what constitutes ‘abnormal’ has varied across time and across cultures.”

I don’t understand, intellectually, what would motivate people to do things like become serial killers or con-men. I don’t understand a lot about abnormal psych, but I find it fascinating. What makes these people tick? How do you spot a sociopath? How do you deal with a narcissicist? What is OCD? Why otherwise would I read stuff by Freud, Jung, Maslow, et al, if I didn’t have to? I read a mess of True Crime books and used to watch Monk, too.

alternate universes

Once again, Wikipedia helps me nutshell it so I don’t rabbit on for yonks. “Alternate universes are known, collectively, as a multiverse. A multiverse (or meta-universe) is the hypothetical set of multiple possible universes (including our universe) that together comprise all of physical reality. The different universes within a multiverse are sometimes called parallel universes. The structure of the multiverse, the nature of each universe within it and the relationship between the various constituent universes, depend on the specific multiverse hypothesis considered.

Multiverses have been hypothesized in cosmologyphysicsphilosophytheology, and fiction, particularly in science fiction and fantasy. The specific term “multiverse,” which was coined by William James, was popularized by science fiction author Michael Moorcock. In these contexts, parallel universes are also called “alternate universes,” “quantum universes,” “parallel worlds,” “alternate realities,” “alternate timelines,” etc.

The possibility of many universes raises various scientific, philosophical, and theological questions.”

Imagine, if you will, that every action or inaction you choose branches off into infinite directions, each defined by an alternate choice you could have taken. It’s a popular conceit in sci-fi and fiction, be it Dr Who or Star Trek or fantasy universes or even dark alternate futures. Any time you read a short story like Ray Bradbury’s “The Sound Of Thunder” or a sci-fi show that asks what would happen if you had the chance to go back and assassinate Hitler before World War Two, you are thinking about alternate universes, the what ifs that might have happened in this particular personal reality. (Getting into what is real and what defines existing and whether perception can be trusted would take a novel to type out and digressions into philosophy, so suffice it to say I know that opens a can of worms right there.)

Maybe in an alternate universe, my döppelganger has made nothing but right choices in life. It could be possible.

enjoying aunt-hood not motherhood

This is not intended to disparage anyone who is a parent and happy about it. Kids are neat and all. I have just never had an urge to procreate. Occasionally I used to think about who I’d leave my nifty stuff to, but now that I have nieces, I am assuming they’ll enjoy some of my cool stuff when they are old enough to figure out who I am and that I even have some cool stuff.

I didn’t like baby dolls. I am not particularly interested in infants. I babysat on and off for more than 18 years and put in my time, I suppose. Kids like me. I like most kids. Never once have I thought that I wished some nice kid was MY kid. I don’t pine to be pregnant. I don’t feel like I am going to be missing out on anything if I choose not to spawn.

Being an auntie is nice. You get to spoil the little ones and then give them back. No worrying about braces or bad habits or bad behavior. No whining or being asked “Why?” four million times. No jam on the ceiling. No diaper rash. No lack of sleep for three years straight.

Kids are cool, but I don’t want one. Borrowing one once in a while is all I need.

tarot

I’ve been reading tarot since I was eleven years old. I have almost 130 tarot (or tarot-like) decks. It may be total woo, but I’ve apparently given good readings more often than not. Of course, I haven’t read any tarot cards in about 12 years, but the tarot decks don’t have to be used to be interesting. Tarot card art is often beautiful.

Years ago I spent a couple of months on AIM or IRC, can’t recall which, and offered, in my profile, to read tarot for anyone for free, but they were not to tell me anything but their screenname: no gender, no age, no question, no location, nothing. They just were to send me a message saying that they wanted a reading, and to either think of a question or prepare for a general reading, but not to tell me what the question was.

I read for about 100 people and supposedly hit the nail on the head 99 times, getting the general topic of the question correct and hitting details that had resonance with the querents. The oddball was asking if she should ditch her husband to run off and have an affair with another married man that she’d met while they were both dropping their kids off at some daycare. This information came out after “the cards” said “No, no, a thousand times no, bad idea, whatever is on your mind, don’t do it” about ten different ways. She was not happy with not being given carte blanche to commit adultery and make dumb decisions, so she decided that the reading was bad.

What can you do?

How do the cards work? Well, assuming they actually do “work”, I have no idea. Maybe the symbols help your subconscious reveal cues you managed to pick up without being aware of them. Maybe it’s like astrology, and every general sun sign description sounds accurate, roughly, partially, because the descriptions are generally vague. Who knows? But if people want their cards read, I can apparently do a decent job.

tea

My favourite is Dr Chang’s Long Life Tea, Original Mongolian Blend, which I can’t find here in Savannah or online, and which I had a hell of a time finding in Atlanta. Also, last time I got a stye (probably from stress), a wet tea bag helped the swelling go down after nothing else worked for a month. I was prepared to go to my grave with a lump on my lower eyelid, but it improved.

It’s better for you than coffee or soda pop. There are thousands of choices. You can grab a glass of iced stuff, or make an entire ritual out of it and serve nice little sandwiches and scones with jam and clotted cream or lemon curd.  You can drink healthy tea or tea that energizes, or tea that flushes out your system, or tea that relaxes, or tea that helps with long-term depression, or tea that just perks your mood up. You can drink tea alone or in a group. It’s good hot or iced.

Tea is nice.

urban exploration

I don’t get much of a chance to do this these days, but this can be a number of different things, and doesn’t have to involve trespassing (though it often does). If you have a friend who likes to take pictures, urban exploration can involve sneaking onto the grounds of an old millworks that is scheduled to be demolished and taking pictures in as many places as possible to take advantage of a soon-to-be-lost resource.

It can mean starting at Point A and then following whatever whim, based on whatever rules, to end up at another, unknown point. If you do it as a group, everyone gets a turn having their whims indulged. You may end up taking a horse-drawn carriage tour, or trying to sneak into some glass elevators, or onto balconies at hotels.

You might look over walls and around corners you’d normally ignore. You might eat at a chicken and waffles place or some ethnic restaurant you’d never normally choose because it was there and you decided you were hungry. You might stumble upon a party or happening or art exhibit. You might find some public art you only ever drove past before. You might befriend a stray cat. You might make new friends. You could end up drinking martinis high above the city skyline in a revolving restaurant. You may end up singing the blues in a karaoke bar. You might be cheerfully heckled by a drag queen in a gay bar, or befriend a homeless guy who sells incense to make a living. You might find a cartoon retrospective being shown. You could discover that you like reggae music when you wind up in a hole in the wall bar. The goal is to be open to possibilities, and to recruit similar-minded friends who are up for some unstructured amusement. Not every choice is going to be superlative, but part of the game is to vote to stay or move on every so often, be it a half hour or an hour or whatever the group chose. You can split up, even, but that’s not as much fun.

It’s making do with the urge to wander when woods and mountains are not on hand to clamber over. Some people do indulge in a type of urban spelunking and rappelling, but my insurance isn’t that great, so I stick to more simple exploring. You can’t be easily embarrassed or lazy or careless enough get caught doing something illegal (akin to double parking, mind, no actual naughtiness like white slavery or heroin rings required), that’s no fun!

 

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