Opinions sought on the film Spirited Away, please. Despite the fact that the 11-screen UGC Cinema in Didsbury is showing it, the 14-screen UGC Cinema here in Middlesbrough is not. Grr. A little research reveals that the nearest cinema to here showing it is in Newcastle, 30+ miles North of here, which is not a trivial journey. (Hush, ye commuters and Americans.) I am looking at other options, but is it worth effort and expense to see?
One extra-curricular course I took at school was in Accelerated Learning Techniques, which covered Mind Mapping. I'm broadly prepared to believe that Mind Mapping can work for some people with good training, but I never got much out of it. In 2001, I asked Tony Buzan, creator of the technique, how often he actually created a mind map in practice, and he estimated "about one per day". This sounds about right; the technique isn't the universally applicable cureall that some, even some lovely people, might suggest. I'm afraid I am always rather cynical about these things to the point of closed-mindedness.
However, one of the other topics we touched upon at the time was self-esteem. I can remember that an exercise we were given was to silently repeat to ourselves, something like 400 times each day, the affirmation I approve of myself. Did it work? Erm, don't know, guv. My closed-mindedness probably meant I was skeptical about the possibility of it working which didn't help it to work, or that I had a nagging doubt that any results could only be due to a self-inflicted placebo effect. Nevertheless, looking back on that time in my life, I think there could well have been (and, by extention, there could still be) something to it. Certainly I was, and remain, extremely skeptical about some of the more "out-there" visualisation techniques. Self-hypnosis? Er, no. (And yet I feel - fear? - this may be my loss.)
Anyway, last night, I was thinking about the concept of a combined mobile phone, mp3 player, video player, personal organiser and so forth; this would be a gadget that you would wear all day that delivered media to your eyes and ears. It would have a little heads-up display with the details of each track as it started, it would automatically pause your mp3 when a mobile phone call came in, it would be completely voice-operated and so forth. People have been kicking around the idea for years. A quick search reveals that the 1999 state of the art cost four figures US and the 2003 state of the art, Eyetop, costs US$450. The verdict on it is better but not yet good. I would've thought that advances in technology and decreasing prices would have put this within about 4 years of the affordable mainstream, but then again people have been saying "better but not yet good" for voice-recognition for years and it still hasn't taken off.
Any2way, last night, I was also kicking around the concepts of combining this technology with subliminal messages and affirmations. Do you think that a little gizmo which beamed you translucent subliminal affirmations 400 times per day, only just opaquely enough to trigger your subconscious without being a distractor, would have any merit whatsoever? Very hard to organise a suitable controlled trial for something like this, but even a ghost of improvement in 20% of people and it's a huge hit as techniques go.
Intermediate, immediate step: how about a LiveJournal custom S2 style which was replete with subtle affirmation? We all likely spend a fair chunk of time looking at LJ pages, so we might as well be doing something for our self-esteem at the same time. I'd have thought that there would be a one-way trip to the Happy Hunting Grounds of lj_nifty, at the very least, for anyone who could come up with such a public style which caught on...
Finally, faintly late from my perspective, birthdaymania rolls on - today, particularly spectacularly so. Many happy returns of the day to the inhabitants of september15 - particularly to mhw and to xnera, both of whom I really enjoy reading, both of whom make so much effort to make people's lives happier, both of whom work hard struggling against the odds in their own way. It's a strange sort of compliment to pay, but the two of you are a credit to your particular day of the year!