Wednesday, May 30, 2007

I Didn't Cheat On You, Honey, My Avatar Did...

I read an intriguing article recently. (Yes, I'm addicted to MSN.com, why do you ask?) It was on the subject of "Virtual Infidelity," a concept guaranteed to make my eyes widen and my curiosity pique. But the writer wasn't talking about chat rooms, Internet sex or online dating. Nor was the article about typical affair situations where real people are interacting with potential love interests as themselves, or even as some slightly-idealized-to-highly-exaggerated version of themselves. No. Instead, it was about online gamers playing out relationship dramas as their characters from their virtual videogames.

Blows my mind.

Now, granted. I'm not a gamer, online or off. I could barely get the hang of Pack Man when I was a kid, and Mario is lightyears out of my league, so I'm no expert here. But can people--and by that I mean living, breathing humans who are sitting at home in front of their computers--really get so into their online videogame characters (their "3-D avatars") that they fall in love, through their character, with another person's...um, character?

Since it's the vast majority of online gamers are men, we're talking about guys (yes, frequently heterosexual) who have a sexy female character as their lead player, and this female character chats with and, consequently, falls in love with another guy's character, a hunky male hero, over the course of playing their online game.

Am I the only one who finds this really, really...well, unusual? Check out this story, and you decide: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18139090/

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Good Fences

T'was a big week in the neighborhood.

Not one but two residents of our quiet, suburban cul-de-sac put up imposing wooden fences in the past four days. Quite the stir this caused, not to mention a flurry of questions. I, personally, was asked:

"Do you know the families?" (no)
"Do you know why they both did it?" (no)
"Are they mad at anybody?" (no idea)
"Do you think they planned it before and are doing it now because it's spring?" (really, no idea)
"Doesn't it block your view, it blocks ours?" (nope)
"Is this a new trend?" (you're asking me?)

What I found most intriguing wasn't the sudden increase of pine boards and posts in the neighborhood, it was the unrelenting speculation. Neighbors who vagely knew each other were now bonding over the motivational analysis of other neighbors, many of whom the analyzers hadn't bothered to talk to in months or years...if they'd ever met them at all.

Were I an attention-seeking sort, I'd be tempted to put up my own backyard fence. Might it make me a better neighbor? Maybe, maybe not. But it seems it'd make me a more interesting one.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

LP: Love & Personality (musically speaking)

I was surfing MSN.com earlier this week and stumbled upon a short article, written mostly tongue-in-cheek, about what your musical tastes say about your personality, especially in regards to relationships.

A few highlights:
Apparently, if you're a guy and you listen to heavy metal, you may have some problems with anger, as well as a tendency to be aggressive in bed (a trait your partner may find exciting...or not). Women who are fans of '70s hair bands supposedly have aging and body-image issues. The country music lovers are thought to be "good" people, often from the Heartland, who are loyal, honest...and, also, boring with a potential for prudishness. The classical music listeners are believed to be extremely intelligent. (Note: The article's author was a self-confessed classical fan.)

There was more, but those were the ones that stuck with me.

I've searched for--but couldn't find--the original post. I'll keep looking. In the meantime, here is a British (and somewhat different) take on the same theme: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article788601.ece .

Rock on.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

What We Do After Nine

I had a funny online conversation with a good friend this week. She emailed me, justifiably pleased with herself, because she'd managed to nix her late-night snacking habit.

"Guess what?" she wrote, sometime around midnight. "I managed NOT to eat anything more than carrots after 9pm tonight."

I quickly typed back, "That's awesome! You're amazing! Good for you! Keep up the great work!!!!!" Then, just because she's a really good friend, I added the list of foodstuffs that I'd consumed since 9pm.

Here's a sampling:
--2 Kudos granola bars (one Snickers flavored; one M&Ms)
--a yellow cheese square, highly processed
--3 Tbsp. of a ricotta-based fruit dip (without the accompanying fruit)
--a bite of this lemon-glazed chicken and angel-hair pasta thing my husband got from the grocery store
--15 minutes later...the REST of the lemon-glazed chicken and pasta entree (not kidding)
--a handful of Corn Pops
--1 large spoonful of chocolate frosting, Betty Crocker brand, right from the container
--2 pieces of cinnamon-flavored gum, chewed only 4 minutes (until the flavor disappeared)
--a cherry Starburst fruit chew from my son's leftover Easter candy bin
--several other things I can no longer remember

Raise your hand if you'd consider this an example of "gastronomical porn"? Personally, I think it's more like a gastronomical orgy...

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Sounds Like "Buffet"

I recently came across this link and just had to share it:

It's a fairly serious piece of journalism about the science behind how/why some of us are prone to overfilling our plates and the ways we can learn to be more moderate in our food intake. The dietary advice strikes me as sound, but the real treat of the article is when the author uses expressions like "gastronomical porn" to describe a buffet. Yeah, you read right.

Gastronomical Porn!

Now tell me, who could resist repeating a phrase like that? (Clearly, not I.)