June 16, 2011

brain power

Would you prefer to be ultimately handsome, or ultimately rich, or ultimately clever?

We used to ask this question to each other pretty frequently when we were kids. I remember "being rich" was never the answer, because you could always get rich if you were ultimately clever or ultimately handsome, using appriopriate methods of your choice.

The movie Limitless is about the story of a loser writer who is introduced to a miracle pill which boosts his brain power. And suddenly he becomes a very smart person. For the first time in his life, he knows what to do and he knows how to do it.

And it was like an answer to our cliche question: "Looks is nothing. You have to be smart."

The intresting thing is,  I bet if you go and ask any person out there, he/she will tell you how important it is to be clever. Now, go and ask him/her what he has ever done to be more clever. I am not talking about miracle pills -which would be great- but I am talking about anything. OK, maybe his/her mother made her drink lentil soup when he/she was a kid, because there is a common belief in Turkey that lentil soup makes you more clever -even though I never proved it personally :(. But other than that, ask him/her what he has really done to improve his/her brain.

Then ask him/her what he/she has done or is still doing to improve the skin, the beauty, the breasts, the dongle and such. Or, open your spam box and see if anyone has ever cared to post you some miracle solution to boost your brain power. Look harder, maybe there is one little mail you missed between all those viagra ads. If you are really bored and don't have much to do, perhaps you can scan the newspapers for the last 3-4 months or longer to compare the news stories about a new method to boost your sexual power and brain power.

OK now, I am not a fool to tell you that sexual power is not important, because of course it is, but don't you really think brain power is extremely underrrated even though it might actually be the cure for all of your problems? Or, doesn't people care about it?

In one of his Tolstoy's novels, I remember a character mentioning a poem which was something like:
Everybody complians about their situation
But nobody complians about their mind
They seem very content about it.

June 06, 2011

the chain of coincidences

I don't enjoy the kind of movies which spans a long period of time, like a life story of a person, which doesn't focus on a particular story. I also don't enjoy a movie which needs a voice over or a narrating character to tell us what is going on. Honestly, this is the cheapest trick ever.

So these are the two major reasons why I didn't like the Benjamin Button movie. It wasn't really telling us a story but giving us some extracts from an obvioulsy very extraordinary man and who lived for more than 70 years. For most of it, the movie relied on the narrative speech instead of real drama. It is true that some of the images accompanying the narrative speech were appealing, but this is not enough.

There is a scene in the movie in which this Benjamin character talks about coincidences. I don't remember the details, but Benjamin talks about 2 or 3 people and how their actions coincided with a car accident. And if any of the characters had done anything slightly different, the accident would have never happened.

It is so true.

And this was the scene I remember when I got sick in he bus earlier this week.

I almost never get sick and this is one of the rare things I like to brag about. However, I got sick in the bus and I just had to get off. And it all lead me to a stranded position. I got off the bus. I knew I needed to eat something to sooth my stomach.

Simit is a kind of a Turkish pretzel which is quite common and can be found at almost every corner. And there was actually a street vendor at that bus stop I got off. However, the money I had with me was one of the biggest banknotes in the circualtion and there was no way the vendor would change it for me for a simit less than 1 Turkish Lira. OK now, perhaps he would but I didn't care to ask.

Funny about it, I went to the local grocery the night before with the same banknote and bought bread and some eggs. I gave the money to the grocer but she said she couldn't change it so I should keep my money and give it some time later. That's quite a common thing in Turkey that you can almost always pay for something later on if you have a personal trusting relation with the seller. You take whatever you want and just say "Is it OK if I pay it later?" And unless the seller person thinks that you are abusing the situation, he/she always says "Of course."

So that's what happened the night before. But of course, a street vendor will never tell me "You can pay later" just like he will never accept a huge banknote for one simit. So, I got off the bus feeling very sick, with a kind of a money which was practically no help.

I had two choices. I could grab a taxi and go back home, spending almost half of that banknote I mentioned above, or, I could convince myself that I felt better in the open air and try to go work. And I chose the latter.

Now, there are two ways you can pay in a bus. You can use some sort of an electronic ticket. You pre-load some money into the ticket and use it in the bus. I have one of those. But the trick is, I have what they call a one-month-ticket which is far more cheaper than buying tickets for every ride. The problem with it is, there are certain lines which doesn't accept this one-month-ticket and you have to pay for every ride.

And the second option is to pay in the bus.

So my electronic ticket didn't work in the bus which I took to go to work. I could have chosen a different bus, but they are always over crowded. This bus I got on is a double deck and it is almost never full because they ask money for every ride which makes it a quite expensive way to commute.

And you get it right, the guy in the bus didn't have enough money to change the banknote I gave him. Anyway, he sorted it out in the end, but it was really a big deal.

And why did I get sick in the first place? Because, I opened the air conditioner two days ago. And that thing makes you sick. But I prone to think that my body is strong enough to endure an air conditioner. After all, I am notorious for my cold-room addict. I love to sit in a 16 degrees celcius room which means pretty cold for human standards. But this time it was rather different because we re-organized the desks in the office and now I am sitting right below the air conditioner. 

It made me sick either because I was fool enough to sit just under a blowing cold air, or more likely, its filter wasn't clean enough and was actually full of bacteria which explains my collegue who was sitting at the far end of the room got sick too.

So I felt sick at night, took some pill and felt better in the morning. I took a vitamin pill which was honestly as big as my foot, just to support my system. But the thing is, I never have a breakfast except sundays, meaning that I took that vitamin pill on an empty stomach which turned out to be a very bad idea.  

So you see, if I had done anything in the entire process differently, none of these would have happened. If I hadn't turned on the air-conditioner, if I had't taken that vitamin pill, or at least had the common sense to have a few bites of bread or something else with it, or if the grocer woman had changed the big banknote that night...  then you wouldn't be reading this post.

By the way, that coincidence scene was rather interesting in the Benjamin Button movie but it was more like a patch because it wasn't really contributing to the main story, if only, there is any story in it.