Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The James Randithon

James Randi rules, man.

He's the magician that has the one million dollar reward for anybody that can demonstrate that they have ANY kind of paranormal powers, including paranormal urine.

Here's fifty eight minutes of some kinda James Randi Google Author lecture thingie.

I'm doing the youtube one 'cause there's a lot of easy-access links to other Google Author Lectures like Neil Gaiman and the Candidates and stuff on there that I might wanna look at later if I suddenly become interested in people who aren't as entertaining as James Randi.

Yah, well, I'm as skeptical as you are about the chances of me suddenly getting interested in that but what the hell heh.

Here's an even better lecture (that's two hours long, y'know, so...) where he really drills into all sorts of hilarious stuff, like the Dunkin Donuts patent for peanut butter sammiches (and not so hilarious stuff, like our governments use of "DKL Rods" ahaha),

Here's some Penn and Teller stuff with him.
Part 2 of the Penn and Teller thing.
Part, uh... I dunno, another part of it.

Here's a couple of famous things from the old days...

The Telekinetic Kungfu Guy.
The Tonight Show Stuff.

Oh yeah, here's a link to an awesome crypto guy thing (but you gotta read it, it ain't a movie Big T ahaha).

Now, I am pretty skeptical about everything, although I like thinking up schemes to make all the pieces of the universe fit together in fun ways.

Actually that's why I am skeptical about things, I enjoy putting everything together in different ways and still having 'em make sense for comedic purposes.

And I understand a lot of the sad sorta reasons folks choose to get kinda delusional about things.

And I enjoy all the science we use to explain away all the dumb stuff (just as much as I enjoy all the ways people use pseudoscience and weird psychics to explain the dumb stuff into existence heh) .

So I'm even something of a cynic I guess, although I'll usually keep my mouth shut about it and just use the cynical thing in my crappy little jokey science fiction stories that don't offend anybody in the way they would if I didn't tell 'em in that format (although they may offend people in other ways ahaha).

But I have had a couple of really weird experiences in my life.

Actually I've had three really weird experiences in my whole life, but I'm only gonna talk about two of 'em.

And they are things that I would have to say were a little paranormal, but they weren't anything I could demonstrate as a super power or anything, 'cause I don't feel like I actually made anything happen, and it wasn't anything that good anyways heh.

The first one started out with me sorta falling asleep in shop class (y'know, back when they still had shop class, now they got computer classes instead), where I had a very weird and short little "dream" where I saw everything that was going to happen in the next five minutes or so, including me moving around the room and talking to certain people, and an accident that was going to happen to me.

And when I snapped out of the dream, I wiped the drool off my mouth and I looked around the room, and everything was perfectly set up for what I had just seen in the dream.

So I set out to either prove or disprove the stuff I had seen in the dream, to see if it was really gonna happen they way I had Forseen it (ooh dramatic word choice!), by moving around to the places I had seen myself moving around to in the dream, and talking to the people I was talking to in the dream.

'Cause I figured if I didn't do all that, if I didn't play along, if I had just stayed in my seat, then none of the other stuff I saw in the dream woulda happened, and that woulda made this story even more boring than it is already.

Thing is, I couldn't really remember what I had saw myself saying to people in the dream, so I had to make all the conversation up and just sorta "wing it" heh.

But everything still happened exactly like it happened in the dream, as I played along all crappy and imperfectly and stuff, up to the point of the accident I had seen.

Which I narrowly avoided (to make a long story less long, I ended up with a scrape on my back insteada the broken back I'd seen myself getting in the dream when a stack of really long boards got knocked off a high shelf by some kids on ladders).

I heard one of 'em say "shit," which was the cue from my dream to try to jump out of the goddam way even though I had my back to them to match the setup in the dream as best I could.

And it all worked out even though I was messing things up a little and I knew I wasn't doing everything exactly like I saw it in the dream, I mean, I was even laughing to myself about how much I musta been screwing up the dialogue (I was actually telling the people I was talking to that I didn't know what I was supposed to say to them, but I knew I needed to say something to them heh).

So that's one thing, where it couldn't have been some kinda deja-vu mental hiccup type thing where I just thought I saw the future, 'cause I actually had to take a set of actions that I probably wouldn't have taken if I hadn't had the dream first, and I was totally conscious of the whole thing ahead of time, waiting for the kid to say "shit" and everything.

Y'know, I got up from where I had been napping and put myself through that whole "testing the dream thing" only because of the dream.

But the dream had just "come" to me and it didn't actually make all that much sense if you think about it a little, 'cause the "vision" sorta put me into danger, if anything, I mean, I think I would've put my head back down and continued to nap and been completely out of harm's way if I hadn't had that stupid dream heh.

So that's the first one.

Then, a couple years later, I had another dream (at home in my bed, not while napping during school heh) where I found a wallet in the locker room at school, and I thought the dream was sorta like a morality test my brain was pulling on me, 'cause I knew the kid that the wallet belonged to, but there was like fifty bucks in there, and so I was all tempted to steal it (I don't remember if I did or not in the dream).

So when I got to school, I told all the kids at the lunch table about my dream, y'know, 'cause it was an interesting thing to blabber out, to see whether people would take the money or not.

And then on the way home from school (I walked home), I found the wallet of one of the kids at the lunch table (although it wasn't the same kid from the dream) sitting on the sidewalk (instead of finding in the locker room).

It only had a buck in it (which I kept for my "psychic wallet finding services" heh).

Oh I gave the wallet back to him eventually (and told him I kept the buck so gimme a break ahaha) and I gave everybody the creeps at the lunch table for a couple days ahaha.

But that's it, those two things are really the only times I experienced anything really weird that I couldn't explain with some kinda thing where I was tricking myself and only remembering good guesses and forgetting the bad guesses (compounded by the fact that I'm a good guesser due to my insatiable appetite for all sorts of useless knowledge and love for pattern recognition type things and the fact that people are pretty damn simple and they only come in a few flavors heh) or some kinda "brain hiccup" like deja vu is supposed to be.

And in the second story, I didn't really have any special feeling that the dream I had was gonna come true or anything, I thought it was interesting for other reasons (the morality of taking the money and returning the wallet) so its actually a lot different from how things felt and played out in the first story, where I was actively testing some kinda weird "vision" of what was gonna happen (and disproving "fate" while I was at, although, much to my dismay, I never had another one of those kinda visions, so that understanding about the imperfect nature of prophecy and "fate" and the way the future is uncertain has not been as useful to me as I hoped heh).

So there's my two slightly paranormal stories where the Reality Machine seemed to break down and start coughing a little.

And all I got outta it was a buck and a scrape on my back heh.

But its enough to make me wonder a little.

It ain't enough for me to believe somebody else about anything though, y'know, I know that even my own experiences coulda just been a really super-humongously improbable (and somewhat comedic) series of events heh.

Nothing wrong with enjoying it a little though ahaha.

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