Following The Yellow Brick Road of Interests

I like to follow my interests around; you know, to see where they go. Sometimes they’re naughty and they get into things better left alone. 😉 They are frequently tangential, following a certain kind of logic that makes sense to me . . . and few others. I suppose the reason for that is because in order to understand my line of logic, you have to understand how things make sense to me; and since I don’t learn the same way as most people, learning how something makes sense to me is probably best left alone too.

The worst trouble that this kind of sense making ever got me into was in music history. My teacher was one of those “floaty, never nail it down, working in concepts of higher reasoning” sorts of professors. On one hand, she told us that there was often no right answer that could be nailed down. On the other hand, if you put the wrong answer down on a test, you got counted off. *growls*

Basically, what I do when learning something new, is make connections to the things that I already know. But since I tend to pick up odd/random facts about different subjects, then the things I know tend not to correlate with anyone else’s knowledge anyway. So that’s already one check against me, so to speak.

Here’s the scenario:

Introduction of new knowledge.

Clarification of what has been said.

How it all works together (when I say, I mean all).

  • including other extraneous, possibly seemingly unrelated topics.

Clarification that I have the connections right.

Repeat until clear.

That’s the part that I get into trouble with professors on. They think that when I am clarifying my connections, that what I’m really doing is wasting their time.

Let me see if I can’t think up some kind of example. I could give an equation easily enough, but I think this would be clearer with something a bit more concrete.

Okay, say we’re learning about a particular composer, like say, Percy Grainger. The teacher mentions that he had a few eccentricities. So I say, well like what? One person’s eccentricities are another person’s norm, after all.

So the professor answers with the usual oddities (e.g. – he didn’t like public transport, so he tended to hitchhike a lot; he didn’t like ironing his clothes; he made his own clothes; he had strange eating habits; he possibly had some kind of bizarre mother-son incestuous relationship; he was drawn very much to self-flagellation . . . ).

See, and what I’ll do, in addition to all that’s mentioned above, is get stuck on particular detail of one particular thing or two, like self-flagellation and its parent category–eccentricities. But I tend not to tell the professor what point I’ve gotten stuck on, because to stop the process is to forget the process, is to forget where I am and what I know up to that point. Basically, if I don’t get this connection clear in my head, I’ll forget everything and have to start over. Generally speaking.

“Oh,” I’d probably say (this is imaginary, if you will remember), “so he’s a goth.”

The professor, at this point, will begin to have fantasies about murdering and pillaging the available countryside, starting with one particular student.

“What?!?” The professor would splutter.

“Or well, he could have been a goth; you know, if he had born later.” I say, making allowance for the fact that goths didn’t exist back in the day as we know them to now. Off the top of my head, I’d say that Grainger was born in possibly 1882 (I think), in Australia (I know). Or maybe it was 1883. No, it was definitely ’82. July, I think.

The professor can now see themselves putting their hands around a certain student’s neck and just squeezing until nothing more is said.

“Why do you say that you think he was a goth?” The professor will ask, through gritted teeth no doubt, stifling the urge to yell out, “What?!? Are you insane???”

“Well, it’s not because of the black or anything.” I say quickly, wanting to clarify my position.

“What black?!?” The professor says, the hand holding the chalk starting to flex and twist (soon the chalk will be broken).

“Well, I’ve not really ever seen much terry cloth, but I don’t imagine it would be black.”


“Well, it could be, but that’s not my point. I don’t think he’s goth because of the black. Even though that would clarify it nowadays.”

“Explain.” The professor would say, teeth still gritted, cheeks turning pink.

“Well, back in the day, lots of people wore black. In that sense, he was probably no different. But if he were to be in today’s world and all he wore was black, then that’d be a bigger sign for his gothness.”

Upon catching the looks of everyone around me, I start talking faster, finally realizing that neither the conversation (nor the converser) are going to make it out alive unless I start getting to my point and soon.

“What I’m really thinking about in terms of the goth connection is the self-flagellation.”

The professor looks like she/he is forcing themselves to take very deep, long, sustained breaths. At least that could be an explanation for why the professor is suddenly rolling his/her eyes back in his/her head.

Then, as always, someone else in the class would have to ask what self-flagellation is.

Of course I know. I almost always know the bizarre terms or long vocabulary that no one else knows. This is largely due to the fact that I read a lot, and almost no one else in any of my other classes (especially in high school) ever did/does.

Okay, so think about it. Grainger liked self-flagellation (liked? In the museum he created for himself as to have a place to store his random and often strange collections, he amassed over 65 whips by the time he died. I actually want to say 70, but over 65 is a pretty safe number); he liked the feel of terry cloth, so instead of buying clothes like other people, he just made his own . . . out of terry cloth (but was it black? Who knows); so, he didn’t follow the contemporary sense of fashion (remember, he didn’t like having his clothes ironed either); his was ultimately a gentle spirit, often loaning out money to friends who were in need; he and his mother were certainly an interesting thing (they pushed the boundaries certainly); he expressed himself differently than most (his music was of the boundary pushing/testing variety) . . . so I figure, he could have either been a goth, or he was an aspie. But I would probably not have mentioned that in class, since there are only a handful of profs out there who know what aspies are.

Course, then again, I have the feeling that a lot of goths are probably aspies . . . or is it the other way around? Generally speaking, one of the themes of the goth is the person who has been mistreated by popular culture–and there again is the connection with aspies.

Now, here’s what the teacher should have done; instead of reacting so spasmodically, they should have merely said something along the lines of, “Tell me what factor it is that connects those two worlds for you.” Yeah, I think that would work. I say “think,” because there have been rare few who have been able to make the learning process simple for me, and I haven’t really run into that many who have been able to stay calm and simply ask the right questions. Of course, I know that it’s extraordinarily hard to figure out which questions are the right ones, but I figure that anything is better than wigging out.

I mean, seriously, “What do you mean by that?” Much too broad.

But lastcrazyhorn, you’re the one making up the scenario; what about that?

Yeah, but I’m basing it off of many of the reactions that I’ve personally experienced throughout my life. This is real stuff.

Anyway, so now I can see that I’m completely off-topic from where I wanted to be. I’m just going to have to abruptly segue into the actual intent of what I’m meaning to talk about.

All this is to say that I often am able to find odd connections to things (and really, the example I gave above was pretty mild compared to some of my stranger leaps of logic), that aren’t seen otherwise by “typical” folk.

Now, this is fully demonstrated in my hunt for websites and clues in the Batman: The Dark Knight viral marketing campaign. I went on a trek yesterday that clued me into another four or five websites that I had previously been unaware of. It all started (well, this particular burst of clues did anyways) with an email that I got from Jim Gordon, of the Gotham PD:

My friend,

Indictments are about to be handed down. If you don’t want your name on one, we’ll need your full cooperation in an upcoming operation.

In case you haven’t heard, we are struggling with a bit of corruption in the department. I’m not about to let the Gotham PD collapse in on itself, so we’re taking action. We’ve identified a group of offenders that need to be apprehended. Problem is, most of these cops are hightailing it out of the city. But a C.I. just like you just gave us some information on their last known whereabouts. Now all we need is to catch them. This is where you come in.

Consider yourself on deck. I’ll contact you next week, and let’s just say it’s in your best interest to play along. County’s not a place you want to spend the rest of your life.

Lt. Jim Gordon, MCU

I got this on April 18th, 2008. The last note I got was on April 13th, 2008 (I’m including the years in there for clarity’s sake later on).
Okay, maybe you’re like, what’s the big deal about the note?

Ah, my little friend. *rubs hands together* Muahahahhha. That’s where it starts.

I had a look at the email address: I thought to myself, “Self, I wonder if that’s a website?”

Soon, I found myself at the Gotham Police Major Crimes Unit homepage. On that site, there is a link to the Gotham Police homepage. You know, you can see a page’s code if you go to View and then click on Page Source. There are three pages of various info on the Gotham Police site. I search through the source material of all three. On one, I found that there was a photograph that had been linked from another site–The Gotham Times site. Now, I had found that site already, but hadn’t looked through it in about a thousand years. There were many articles I scanned, but only two of them actually gave me ideas.

These ideas let me to put certain search terms into Google, and lo and behold, we get two new sites:

The Maiden Avenue Report
Citizens for Batman

Now, I just now noticed something about the Maiden Avenue Report (a site for primarily factitious rumors, I believe). We, in this day and time, have a tendency to zone out when it comes to ads, but I just realized something big about the ads at this site. They’re all Gotham oriented!

Let’s see here; now I’ve got four more sites to check out:

Gotham City Rail
Saint Swithuns Catholic Church
Rossi’s Delicatessen – complete with phone number . . . I wonder where my cell phone has wandered off to?
Gotham Ferry System

Now, the way you can almost always tell which websites are part of the viral marketing loop is this: They don’t have long addresses, and there’s no webmaster/privacy policy yada yada at the bottom of the page.

Anyway, I found a couple of others, but you should be able to see those from my sidebar. I gotta go add these now!


~ by lastcrazyhorn on April 20, 2008.

3 Responses to “Following The Yellow Brick Road of Interests”

  1. So, was Visicalc invented by a Visigoth? (Sorry, first thought in my head)

  2. Sounds good to me!!! 🙂

  3. hi……….

    yeah this is how we learned alot of what we know today, following our interests. It is like the yellow brick road………very much so. Very thought provoking………

    now I have to feed myself something. More like go out to eat…….It’s after 3 pm EST and I haven’t had lunch yet.

    Athena of athenivanidx

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