Thursday, December 13, 2012

Party Tricks for Introverts

For an introvert, going to a party filled with people you don't really know (and/or work with) can be both stressful and tiring - to the point where you'd rather be anywhere else, including the moon. 

This particular time of year can be especially stressful, with company Christmas parties, family parties, and old friends showing up in town and throwing even more parties. Here are a few tips to help you navigate uncomfortable, awkward, or just plain old normal people-filled events.

There are a few things that you can do before the party to prepare, ultimately (hopefully) making the actual event that much easier.
  1. Find out what to wear. There are few things more awkward than showing up in jeans when it's a black tie affair - except maybe showing up naked.
  2. Plan conversation topics ahead of time. You can even do research on something if you are certain the other party-goers will be discussing it (such as sports, something about which I know nothing, but people always like to discuss).
    1. Sports
    2. Projects at work
    3. Children
    4. Weddings
  3. Know what is inappropriate to talk about - office politics, awkward medical problems (especially if you meet a doctor), and marital issues are all poor conversation choices.
  4. Take a date. If you have a spouse or a friend that is willing to go, take them so you always have somebody to talk to.
  5. Find out who is going to be there - this way, you can more easily plan topics of conversation, as well as potentially have some friends who will make it a little easier for you.

During the Party
  1. Be courageous!
  2. Don't arrive first.
  3. Don't arrive extremely late.
  4. Don't get drunk.
  5. Start by talking to someone you know; look for opportunities for them to introduce you to other people - so you don't have to take as much initiative.
  6. To involve yourself in a conversation, walk by the circle of people at a tangent, so someone will see you and let you in.
  7. Ask people about themselves.
    1. How did you like living in X location?
    2. What do you think of X project?
    3. Have you heard about X event in X location?
    4. Do you have kids?
    5. What is your job?
  8. To escape from an awkward conversation:
    1. Always carry a glass and keep it 1/3 full (alcohol is probably a bad choice of beverage for this trick.) Then, you can always say, "I need to go refill my glass."
    2. You can't visit the bathroom too many times, especially if you're keeping your glass 1/3 full.
    3. Let someone else into the conversation; then the circle of people can split like an amoeba into two conversations.
  9. Get an extrovert buddy. This person can help you escape from conversations, give you someone to talk to if you've been wandering around helplessly for too long, and/or can intervene in conversations that need a bit of livening up. They can also introduce you to new people, which will take a little pressure off of you for initiating the first exchange.
  10. Talk to a lot of different people for shorter periods of time. This may seem intimidating, but it allows you to only need two or three conversation topics which you can use repeatedly.
  1. Ask your extrovert buddy how you did.
  2. Make note of things to do and/or not to do again.
  3. Go to bed.
  4. Take some time to  yourself to recover.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Meteor Showers Hurt

Apparently there is a meteor shower going on tonight. I think meteor showers are very interesting things. Some people envision this:

...brilliant streams of light sparkling in the  night sky - glittering wishes, hopeful, but sad and quickly gone.

Then NASA shows us pictures like this underwhelming streak of light about to disappear in the overwhelming beauty of our planet.

I have a slightly different image: an image of giant rocks soaring through millions of light years of space, only to accidentally bump into a planet and begin plummeting to their doom, ablaze; miles of atmosphere, of cold, and hot and fire... and then they drop on my head with a perpetual clatter as I try to slather shampoo into my hair. And of course they melt the plastic on the bottom of my tub and I don't get my deposit back when I move out of my apartment. 

You know what I think about meteor showers? They hurt. And they ruined my shower.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Aliens 101

Recently I have been thinking about aliens, and how we create our aliens to be relatively like us in most regards. Take some of the Star Trek aliens, for example: 

This guy, and that guy.

Very humanoid. Along with those are all of the people from BattleStar Galactica and Firefly, aliens from Star Trek and Star Wars, Doctor Who, etc. We seem to like the idea of humans exploring the universe and finding other humanoids. But those are definitely not the only types of aliens the human mind has invented.

There are much weirder aliens...

 Like this giant lump of meat, which is actually an alien (Torchwood) and it's still alive when they cut it up.

And then you have scary.

This is a Predator, which may not be an alien after all, just a human from the future (Primeval). But alien enough by one dictionary definition (unlike one's own; strange; not belonging to one.)

And there are Daleks - they set the bar for scariness, with their insatiable desire to be the only intelligent life in the entire universe and their tendency to exterminate everyone (Doctor Who).

 The Slitheen, who kill humans and take their skin to wear as suits (Doctor Who)...

 The Silence, who make you forget they ever existed when you can't see them (Doctor Who)...

The blue aliens are scary because they seem to be studying us... and yet we can't understand them (Stargate Universe).

There are of course hilarious aliens...

(Men in Black)

And Superheroes...



And let's not forget the metal aliens...

This is an attacker drone from Stargate Universe, set on autopilot to find and destroy any and all forms of technology that are at or above its level. They escaped, don't worry.

These two are Cylons from Battlestar Galactica. Everyone in Battlestar is technically an alien, but these are not human aliens. Of course, humans invented them...

And the all-famous Cybermen (Doctor Who), not technically aliens, but creatures invented by humans (and made out of humans) usually brought in from another universe or from the future.

And we wouldn't want to leave out a Transformer.

I'm also going to throw a nice alien in, for good measure:

These aliens can morph into anything you want them to be. They are in Star Trek, Next Generation.

And finally, I'm going to leave you with a taste of one of my favourite aliens - the Clockwork Aliens (Doctor Who).

Now, these are probably better classified as alien robots, as they seem to function under only one directive and have no willpower to do otherwise. In that sense, they are slightly terrifying, because they're taking people's internal organs to make their ship function properly, but they're so beautiful! And imagine they weren't evil killing machines - they would make awesome butlers.

This is far from all of the aliens in the fictional universes of Earth, as it leaves out all books and about a million movies and other TV shows, but it's a start.