Saturday, 28 November 2009


I get the impression some people see this as black and white. Either you got it or you don't. And if you don't, don't even try, coz you just don't and you never will.

I disagree. I think you can learn talent.

What even is talent? What makes it different to a skill? Everyone agrees that you can learn a skill.

Take dancing. If a kid went to classes and learned to dance, he'd have learned a skill. Take another kid. She's a good dancer naturally, without having been to any classes. She's talented.

Now imagine that they both took dancing seriously and both went to an arts school and ended up in the same dance class. Imagine for the sake of argument that they're both as good as each other. Now does is it fair to call only one of them talented? What changed?

It's like if you're talented, your skill is a natural endowment. Or you naturally have an aptitude towards a set of skills. If you're not, you have to put in a lot more effort to reach the level of the talented person. But, you can become just as good as them. Better even.

You can be the clumsiest person you know. But I believe it's still possible for you to become a talented dancer. I think it's totally possible that you can train your aptitude. You may not have been born with that aptitude, that affinity for timing, balance and posture. But the great thing is that you can change that. You have to believe you can. Positive attitude, determination. Changing little things in your life. Instead of walking down the stairs, bounce down the stairs on your tiptoes. Listen to music all the time. Tap your toes to it. Eventually your body and mind tune themselves into that whole dance and music thing, and suddenly you've built yourself an aptitude for it. You now have a talent for dancing because every fibre in your body is tuned that way.

So next time someone tells you you're not good enough for something for lack of talent, tell them to shove a cucumber down their throat.

Unless they're Arnold Swarzenegger.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Perspective, music, setting

So I'm watching a youtube, thinking "Man, this music really suits the video. It's like the video's been shot to the music." (Even though it's obvious that didn't happen.)

Then the thought hits me. Maybe it's not the music that suits the vid. Maybe it's the way I'm interpreting it all.

I'm reminded of a video I was shown at school in like year 3 (I can't have been more than 7 years old). It was about how directors use music in film. They showed a close up of a spider walking across the screen, with no music. It looked quite simply like a spider walking across the screen. Nothing special. Just like in a David Attenborough.

Then they showed the same sequence, but with scary, tension building music, lke from Jaws or something. Suddenly the spider seemed really scary. Really on the prowl. Dangerous. Intent to kill.

Then they showed the same sequence, only this time they had fairground music. Suddenly the spider, the same one that had me soiling my undies just a minute ago, looked comic and silly; like a clown bumbling around a circus ring.

Each time it was the same spider, but the differing music coloured the scene very differently for me. And each time the music seemed to really suit the scene.

So back to my youtube. I was thinking what if the music was completely different? What if it wasn't the classy swingy music they were actually playing, but a bassy or moody piece. Would I still think "Man, this music really suits the video?"

Is it fair to assume that a different piece of music, carefully chosen, will have me perceive it (totally/slightly) differenly, and that I'll believe that the music really suits that new perception of the video?

Maybe I'll think twice before thinking "Wow, that music must have been written for this scene."

Unless it's a proper film. In which case it probably has.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Chicken or Egg?

Is this even a question? I mean ok there would have been a time when we had more limited knowledge and this would have been a legitimate question. But today?

Let's not kid around. The answer I instinctively blurt out (and have been doing so since I was like 7-10 years old, having been fascinated by dinosaurs at that age) is simple: the egg came first.

Rewind 65 million years. There are no chickens. There were, however, many reptiles such as velociraptor that did lay eggs. So we have a very vivid factual example of a period in the past, with eggs and not chickens. So eggs predate chickens. Clear, obvious fact.

So why do people still ask the question today as if it's still the causality dilemma it was during Aristotle's era? Are people that ignorant? Or just too lazy to think about it a little? Certainly it doesn't help that a majority of people in the western world were brought up reading the Bible, which gives the answer as chicken in Genesis 1:21. However, creation has no factual basis and this is only going to serve to confuse things.

Though.. maybe there is a depth to the chicken and egg question. What if by egg, we specifically meant a chicken-egg? That returns to a much more abstract debate.

I think we first have to define what a chicken-egg is. I mean, is it an egg that hatches into a chicken, or is it an egg that has to be laid by a chicken? (We'll also assume that by chicken, we mean Gallus gallus domesticus. I don't think that's too much to assume.)

So if we say that a chicken-egg is one that hatches into a chicken? This allows that the chicken-egg could have been layed by a different species of animal, and a chicken emerged from it, meaning that the chicken came first.

The latter leads to another non-question. If a chicken-egg has to have been laid by a chicken then it follows that the chicken has to have come first. Since you can't make a chicken without first having a chicken-egg. So the first chicken was hatched from a non-chicken egg.

Let's see. The chicken is said to have evolved from a subspecies of Gallus found in Thailand. So at some point, there must have been an egg laid by what we'd consider to be Gallus that hatched into what we'd consider to be Gallus gallus domesticus. And the answer to the question lies in what you decide to call that intermediary egg. Is that a chicken-egg according to our first definition of the chicken-egg? Or is it not a chicken-egg because it wasn't laid by Gallus gallus domesticus?

So ultimately it all boils down to definitions. And actually, I don't find myself caring that much which definition you use..

Although according to Erikson, Larson, Gunnarsson, Bed'hom and Tixier-Boichard et al, it could well have been a chicken-egg that preceeded the chicken.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009


I think a lot. I think too much, actually.

If you know me, you know I'm rather reserved. Reminds me of this quote Plato is supposed to have said (though apparently not found in any of his work):

A wise man speaks because he has something to say; a fool because he has to say something.

I like to think I'm the wise man :3 Anyway, I find my mind wanders a lot. I think about everything, and so I thought I'd write a blog. That way I can remember all the journeys my mind and I have been on.

So in a way, this is mostly for me.. though I will be very flattered if I get any readers. It's not going to be like a regular thing either. Just whenever my mind wanders and I want to put it to paper (so to speak) I'll be posting here.

Anyway, I'll keep this one brief.