Friday, May 30, 2008

Ice Bar

After my last presentation on Wednesday, my group went to the Absolut Ice Bar.
The entire place is made of ice: the bar, the seating, the tables, even the glasses. There is a 45 minute time limit for you to be in there. It gets freakin' cold, even with the special parkas and gloves they give you before you enter. I'm glad I did it, but I won't be doing it again. Freezing temperatures and I don't get along very well.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Viagra: Ten Years on the Rise

This was the title of the documentary I watched last night on TV 5. I got some names of experts that I could possibly contact for my own project, so that's good. There wasn't a whole lot of information about STDs among the senior citizen set, but there was a little. This is a good thing because it shows that more information needs to get out there.

The funniest part of the show was when an expert pulled out the following items to describe the different types of erections:

Type 1: Tofu

Type 2: Peeled Banana

Type 3: Unpeeled Banana

Type 4: Cucumber

I'm sorry.
Hold on a minute.

Yup. Tofu.
Chew on that one for a while...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

My MA Project!

I finally found a focus for my MA project. I was going around in circles trying to identify what I wanted to do. First, I considered the poetry of genetics as opposed to the biology of genetics. I thought about studying the life of my paternal grandfather and drawing comparisons between him and me and the rest of my family. Then, I thought about creating an "Adult Kindergarten" and using child-like behavior to unlock creative potential in adults. Then I read something about the truancy rate of primary school kids in London increasing, and I wanted to know why, and whether or not there was anything I could do about it. Then, it hit me.

But first, a little back story. In the spring of 2007, I was living in Brookline, MA, and occasionally, I would go to a monthly brunch at a co-op in Cambridge. One of the guys who lived at the co-op was doing his PhD on why Sex and the City became such a global phenomenon. While researching, he came across a factoid that stuck in my head: the STD rates in the elderly were increasing rapidly.

A few months later, I was having a conversation with my parents. They said that an acquaintance of theirs told them the same thing, and that men in the Sun City Center area were
hiring prostitutes in the neighboring town, catching a "phage" (as my dad says), and spreading it to their next partners. This intrigued me.

Throughout my course, the idea kept popping into my head, and I kept pushing it back. I mean, seriously. Did I really want to spend 6 months of my life researching "old people" sex?

But it wouldn't leave me alone. There was too much of an opportunity in it:

1) It could create positive change in people's lives, both young and not-so-young (it could stimulate conversation between generations, and make them aware that everyone is at risk. It could change the way seniors view themselves, and the way our society views seniors.)

2) It has HUGE potential for humor and would allow me to use my comedy background (side note to all Carharts: you will be participating in brainstorming sessions with me via email and phone, so consider yourselves forewarned) and create advertising that is more effective that this:

3) I could parlay this into a career at an innovation consultancy or innovative company because it would prove that I can:
a) identify a problem that the majority of the population can't see
b) take risks by choosing topics that are uncomfortable, and that most people wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole (huh, huh...I said "pole").
c) find a creative solution to a problem and
d) follow it through

Here's the first version of my question/thesis (trumpets blaring): How can I potentially reverse the significant increase of STDs among the elderly?

So, there you have it.
Spread it around (and let the horrible double entendres fly)!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Same on Both Sides

Today, I went to my housemate Gavin's gallery to check out the current show (click the link. There's some cool stuff.) Then I walked up Stoke Newington Church Street and popped into Fresh and Wild. Fresh and Wild is owned by Whole Foods (a.k.a. "Whole Paycheck"). Apparently, over here, Fresh and Wild is also known as "Fresh and Mortgage". It's oddly comforting to know that the nicknames are so similar. Anyway, I got some Japanese rice crackers and a can of "organic" ginger beer. I don't remember how much I paid, but I'm sure it was too much.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Synesthesia Reading List

While researching for my last project at school, I read a lot about synesthesia. The easiest way to describe synesthesia is a fusion of the sense. Often, when someone hears a certain sound, he or she will simultaneously see red swirls. Sometimes, as in the case of my Aunt Scarlett, certain numbers will be in certain colors (2 3 7).

I'm recommending a couple of books on synesthesia:

Born On A Blue Day
is the first one. This was written by Daniel Tammet, a man who has Aspergers (a mild, highly functioning form of Autism) and strong synesthesia. The unusual thing about this book is that people with Autism are rarely able to express what's going on in their own heads and bodies because they can't communicate well in the "normal" world.

The second is The Man Who Tasted Shapes. This was written by Richard E. Cytowic, a neuroscientist who is leading authority on synesthesia. He covers the biological aspects of synesthesia in a way that's accessible, and he frames it all in a case study of a friend of his who, when he was cooking dinner, said "I need to add more points to this chicken".

Now go read. :)