Odorless&Transparent

"the deadliest bullshit is odorless and transparent" - William Gibson

Thursday, October 07, 2004

a sign?

Ig Nobel - a great organization which grant awards for cool science experiments which "make you laugh, then make you think." gave their award in psychology to a team from Univ. of Illinois which made a video of students passing a basketball back and forth. they then asked participants to count the number of passes made. The crux is, during the video a person in a gorilla suit walks in and hams it up with the students. Barely anyone noticed, and were less likely to do so if asked for a more detailed count of the passes. (check out this article from New Scientist for more amazing Ig Nobel awards, about the 5 second rule, comb overs, etc.)

For the past 2 years or so, i've been working sporadically on a novel called "invisible gorilla". It's about a kid (my alias/alterego huey priest) who's so cracked out he can "heal" anything electronic and the path the world beats to his door (think arronofsky's Pi with a Bible belt/crystal meth bent).

I never knew what the name meant. i picked it because, one day when i was teaching tennis, I split the kids up into teams and made them pick names for their team. When i asked this one 9 year old Japanese boy what his team name was, i couldn't understand what he was trying to say because his english was so bad. So, i made him act out the name, and we eventually arrived at "invisible gorilla", which he would subsequently shout whenever he won a point for the rest of tennis camp. I just thought it sounded like a great name and started saving my story scraps under that title. I always knew i'd figure out what it meant sooner or later.

Now, i watch this amazing video experiment and i get the fucking willies. i bet that "invisible gorilla" becomes shorthand in certain geek/science circles for "the unnoticed but obvious irregularity". the metaphor fits my story so well, its hard for me to believe.

i'm sure this is a sign that i should write more, or trust my instincts, or quit my job and hermit until i get all of the story on paper, or maybe that i'm missing something really obvious and amazing right in front of my nose. this definitely excites me, and solidifies some things i've felt about the story, but it doesn't much help me figure out what to do next in my story. I've got to do something after this bullet in the head. Where do i go from here? As Drudge would say "developing..."

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