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#324 September 24, 2008

Posted by Brian L. Belen in Ramblings.


Growing up, I was always that kid with his nose stuck in a book or captivated by some video game or another. It never struck me as paradoxical — one activity associated with higher brain functions, the other usually with much less — but that’s the way it was. Is. What’s more, I never thought that it case that my affinity for gaming would affect (i.e. dumb down) my reading habits…until recently.

It happened while reading a book in my queue from an author I’d been following lately, the latest in a series that for the most part I’ve enjoyed. Nothing spectacular, to be sure, just decent material and good entertainment. In spite of this, I found myself struggling to get through the pages. My brain just wouldn’t let go of the fact that there weren’t any great graphics or cool special effects to accompany the text. Try as I might, I couldn’t shake the thought, even though I was well aware of how patently illogical it happened to be.

Eventually I made it through to the end of the book. It was actually pretty decent in retrospect. Would’ve been better with more sophisticated graphics, though.


It happens fairly often: one moment everyone is deeply involved in conversation then — bam! –the entire group suddenly goes quiet. Recently, I learned that it’s much more awkward when you’re actually the reason why.

I happened to accompany my dad to one of his many meetings, this being one where a.) I wasn’t familiar with the principals involved and b.) I wasn’t supposed to be attend to begin with (not that it was a big deal). At some point I was offered my own seat in place of someone who begged off at the last minute, taking in most of the banter that was going around the table.

As these things go, it was only a matter of time until I became the subject of discussion. Soon enough someone asked me about, well, me — what I was up to and things of that nature — and for a brief moment I ended up speaking with everyone in the room at once. Upon learning I just returned from New York there were several questions about the weather this time of year, because I mentioned my current academic progress people became curious of what I finished back in college, because someone else in the room happened to graduate from Columbia and had relatives who finished at Fordham there was the inevitable exchange of experiences. Etcetera.

Then, when I finished speaking my last sentence, the room went so quiet one could hear the proverbial pin drop.

Many witticisms have been devoted to making light of situations like these. There are those who say that when a room full of people goes quiet it’s because an angel has just passed. I think it was Michael Chabon who wrote that when such happens, somewhere in the world an idiot is born. Personally, I have no doubt that this is either coincidence or the unintended consequence of being the foreign element in an otherwise closed ecosystem, but I’d be more than happy to put the two together: an angel passed through that room, ladies and gentlemen, and somewhere in the world an idiot was born. It just so happened that I was that idiot.


I’ve written before how I have this funny feeling that anything interesting that happens in New York does so when I’m not around. Once again, the empirical evidence seems to be in my favor, what with the recent financial turmoil that has been making headlines.

The defense rests, your honor.


Is it just me, or do parking lot attendants in Manila — you know, the type that “help” you park by waving you on to let you know how much more space you have to pull forward or inch backward — signal you to stop after you’ve actually stepped on the brake in fear of hitting the adjacent vehicle?


Non-sequitur borderline inappropriate thought: Why is it people have a “five-second rule” when it comes to food that’s fallen off a plate but not for children who’ve taken a tumble and get all dirty in the process?

And thus ends another pathetic attempt at humor.



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