Thursday, February 21, 2013

Portal 2 OST: The National - Exile Vilify

I was playing Portal 2 a few days ago and I came across one of Valve's Easter Eggs in game, which are always clever and fun. But this time it was something more than just an Easter Egg for me, because it made me discover something fabulous. 

I was on Chapter 2, Test Chamber 3 and I was scoping the place to see what's around. Below was another room, which looked like there was nothing useful inside, but I jumped down anyway. Then I heard it. A song was playing in the room so I followed the sound to find the source, I turned around and found one of those Aperture Science Radios in a corner. The song had already touched me by then. There was a poster on the wall, "vilify", "don't even try" and "feels like a trial" was written on it. On another wall "sucker's luck" and "exile" was written. I really liked the song, so I took the radio with me to listen to it throughout the level. I admit that this test took me longer than the others, and the reason wasn't because it was harder to solve, but because I loved the song so much. When the test was done and it was time to leave the radio there and move on to another test, that's when I gave up and Alt+Tabbed to find the song. Then I found out that the song is in fact one of my favorite band's and I was like the only person in the world that didn't know about it. It's Exile Vilify by The National.

I just love it when you randomly discover a great song from TV series or video games. Although Exile Vilify is written for Portal 2 exclusively, it still doesn't make the lyrics any less influential. Matt Berninger's voice is charming as always and the piano tune is simply beautiful.

The song itself is very soothing, yet very depressing at the same time. Or maybe it's because I have been a bit depressed lately. Sometimes when you listen to a song over and over and over while troubled by something, you start to relate that song to a specific person or occasion. And when you listen to that song again, even after a long time when everything turns out okay, all the emotions you felt when you first listened to it come back and haunt you. Oh, now I see, that's what the song does to me in fact: it's haunting me. And I know that a few months or even years later when I listen to it, all the feelings and the sadness and the anger and the confusion I've felt for the last few days, will probably come back and haunt me again. I guess this is one of the downsides of having an auditory memory. But does it stop you from listening to a great song? Is the song really great if it makes you feel down? Or is it great because it can arouse such strong feelings in you? Is that the true meaning of what they call masochism, doing something that you know will hurt you? Does the song make you feel like a "Lab Rat"?  Or perhaps the right question is,

 "Does it trouble your mind the way you trouble mine?"

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Kindly Remove Yourself From My Personal Space, Thanks.

Sadly, there are some people who don't know the meaning of "personal space" or "privacy". It's not that I expect everyone to be the same, I know that we all have our differences and similarities, and are unique in our own ways. And after all, these concepts are highly variable depending on the intimacy level of the sides that are mutually involved, such as your relationship with coworkers, family members, a spouse, friends, or acquaintances. But still, if some people had an electrical shock at 1V for each time they enter someone else's personal space, they would be electrocuted and turned to crisp by now.

Some people grow up in dorms or crowded houses. Sharing their rooms with others, they don't have much personal space while growing up. That's why they don't know the concept and can't imagine there might be others who feel intruded when they do something. And then there is the opposite group of people, who grow up alone, without any siblings or many friends, so they can't share anything even when they need to, they can't let anyone in. But that's a whole other thing and I'll focus on the former one for now.

In my workplace, there is this cleaning lady who is extremely curious and it really gets me. Whenever I leave my desk, if she is near, I always catch her peeking at my computer screen out of the corner of her eye. Why woman, why? What are you trying to achieve? Will your life be suddenly complete, when you finally know who I'm Facebook messaging with? Will the void you feel inside be filled when you learn what insignificant matters I talk with my friends about? Meh, I just don't get it. Annoyingly, when I have to get some work done, she sits across me and tells me stories about her personal life, in which I have no interest at all, and completely disrupts me. Other times, when I take a break and want to be alone for a while, she just stays next to me, stares at my computer screen, and consequently, I can't do anything personal. This is a tricky situation. In times like this, you have to be professional, you need to suppress all your emotions. And the professional and polite girl I am, at these times I keep a straight face. But my inner voice shouts "WHAT-THE-HELL-GO-AWAY" continuously on a loop, until the danger fades into the distance. Nah, I really can't possibly see how personal things about you can hold so much interest for a complete stranger.

Not all cases are this extreme but they are usually almost equally irritating. I don't like it when you go to an ATM with a not-so-close-friend or an acquaintance and they stare at the password screen when you type your password. And if they sense that you get uncomfortable with it, instead of showing the decency to turn their head away, they mock you for being a private person. Well, this may come as news to you but, BEING MY FRIEND DOESN'T MEAN YOU NEED TO HAVE ACCESS TO MY BANK ACCOUNT, BITCH. This was not in our contract. Or, when you send a text message while using public transportation and the old lady next to you tries to read what you're writing? Dear vast and curious lady, if I wanted everyone to read what I'm sending, I wouldn't use a personal mobile phone, I would put it on a Billboard where my friend and everyone else can see, mmkay? And what about the pal that follows you out when you go outside or to a different room to take a private call? Gee, dude, is the reason you follow me to eavesdrop to what I'm talking or simply to make me reeeaaly uncomfortable while you do some unnecessary thing that you can do 5 minutes later anyways? 

We all encounter these kind of intrusions at one time or another. But aren't we all sick of them and want our personal space back? Yeah, roger that. The trick here is when people make you uncomfortable, you make them even more uncomfortable so they leave you alone. Here are some examples of what you can do to scare people off next time they enter your personal space:

1. All of a sudden, start screaming as loud as you can, continue until they move away.
2. Quietly, stare them in the eye for a long time, then lean forward towards them and in a really creepy and monotonous voice say "I'll kill you in your sleep."
3. Suddenly shout "Hey look! There is a ..... behind you!" (fill in the blank with any noun) and when they look, push them off the stairs or the building.
4. Put your hand on your crotch and act like you're masturbating.
5. Whisper in their ear saying: "Does this rag smell like chloroform to you?"

You can find more examples that are suitable for your occasions. Feel free to use your imagination in any way to scare people off.
Also, print this and hang it on the wall behind you in your workplace, room or classroom. If you're mobile, you can attach it on your chest and back with a pin. Scientific studies have shown that people who wear it encounter 67.48% less personal space invasions.