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Making the world a weirder place

Posted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 12:34 am UTC
by Kizor
The subject is a recurring theme both in XKCD and for the kind of geeks that would read it. Asking a stranger to come fly a kite, scaling a building using network cables, dressing like a pirate or a time traveller, making blocks from Super Mario that get the bomb squad called on them - all are commendable acts and direly weird, either as a means for higher accomplishments or as an end in itself.

As a dabbler in the bizarre who wishes to become a genuine eccentricist, I'd like to ask the rest of you to relate your achievements and/or hijinks in the field. What you've planned or would dearly like to pull off is good as well, as are horrible examples of things gone wrong.

----

Personally... I hold laser gun battles, the kind that give electric shocks when they register hits, in the university lobby. I walk around on intercity trains with a large notebook, asking random people for wisdom (and have some 215 entries.) My current long-term project takes a bit of explanation. Said university recently constructed a grand, flashy, high-tech and really rather impractical ICT building. Everything computer-related was moved there, including the cramped but so-very-cozy student organization's offices/student hang-out spots. Their new location is in the basement, in the bomb shelter. Outside is a long, white, horribly featureless corridor with no other purpose. I've been decorating the walls with printed images at a very gradual pace; people have started to wonder where they come from. I'm hoping that someone joins in.

Current delights include:
Next week, I'll put up three of a series of postcards from 1910 speculating about life in 2000. The week after that, an ostrich wagon and other novelties.

Re: Making the world a weirder place

Posted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 1:07 am UTC
by TradaPIB
I respect you. You do things in real life I only do in my head. It's that fear of being labeled 'weird' and thus not being accepted. Fear of rejection and such. I love talking and interacting with strangers. It's one of my passions. I think I value it above a lot of things that other people don't.

I haven't done it enough though. However, when I do I feel like I'm really me, not the guy trying to get approval and 'stay as they know me for fear of rejection' like I am with people who I've known for a while. For example, I went to a Christian music festival here in New Zealand earlier this year. This isn't just any old music fest, this is from Friday till Monday tent-up and rough it. It's great, the music is fantastic. But there's something better there, it's the atmosphere. It's a damn friendly one, you can talk to anybody you wish. Familes go and the kids run off and make friends, adults bump into each other and make friends, and teens just all act like we've known each other forever. I spent the first night playing Mafia (the card game) with complete strangers before running off with some others who needed numbers for a kind of flash mob. But the thing is, is that I spent more time with randoms then I did my mates. I'm wack like that. (wack?). I bought that "I'm shy, you can talk to me!" t shirt from xkcd store and I wear it every time I hang in the city.

But I ramble. What I'm saying is that I'm not normal, I'm weird and I don't give a crap. And ask you, how did you defeat that ningle to fit in and just do crazy stuff like you have listed?

PS: I've been a lurker in xkcd for an age and thought it was about time to join. Hi! I'm just some kiwi guy who feels right at home here. A forum where you can reference HHG2TG and Ender's Game and know you will be understood? In!

:)

Re: Making the world a weirder place

Posted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 1:09 am UTC
by Angelene
Sorry, but is being weird for the sheer sake of being weird not kind of defeating the purpose? It all just seems a tad contrived.

Re: Making the world a weirder place

Posted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 1:12 am UTC
by koalabäh
It's not simply for the sake of being weird. It's for the sake of making the world weird, the rationale being that a weirder world makes weirder, more conscious people.

That's what I hope, anyway.

Re: Making the world a weirder place

Posted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 1:22 am UTC
by Angelene
Ah, I guess because I'm so inherently constrained by the box in which I've put myself the whole idea is just totally alien to me. Okay, carry on.

Re: Making the world a weirder place

Posted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 1:27 am UTC
by __Kit
CaraInFrames wrote:Sorry, but is being weird for the sheer sake of being weird not kind of defeating the purpose? It all just seems a tad contrived.


Isn't it just like me asking you the same about being normal, weird is some peoples normal.

Also, who the fuck wants to be normal? You got one lifetime, why be like everyone else?

Re: Making the world a weirder place

Posted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 1:28 am UTC
by Algernon
I'd much rather be weird than normal. When you're legitimately weird, you can get away with a LOT more.

Re: Making the world a weirder place

Posted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 1:44 am UTC
by ascendingPig
Algernon wrote:I'd much rather be weird than normal. When you're legitimately weird, you can get away with a LOT more.

Completely agreed.

A lot of kids think at school think I'm autistic. But actually, I'm just not bothering with social niceties because they'll stop expecting me to, and if I say something like, "I believe it is fair to say that you, madame, are a dumb cunt," she can't get angry because she doesn't think that I know any better. It also hurts all that much more, I'd think, to know that it's an honest belief and not just someone trying to look cool and devil-may-care.

All this means that I get to sit in the back of the chemistry classroom twitching and dangling a pencil over my nose while trying to create the Bernoulli Effect using a braid and something vaguely tapered, and nobody bats an eye.

Re: Making the world a weirder place

Posted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 5:37 am UTC
by Malsies
I've gotten down on one knee and sung "Build Me Up Buttercup" to strangers on the street.

Sometimes I'll draw little pictures or write little inspirational notes, and go to a parking lot and put them under random people's windshield wipers.

My swing dance partner and I spontaneously break into dancing in public places. Past Lindy bombs have included Steak N Shake, a local coffee house, and the side of the freeway during a traffic jam.

koalabäh wrote:It's not simply for the sake of being weird. It's for the sake of making the world weird, the rationale being that a weirder world makes weirder, more conscious people.

That's what I hope, anyway.


I like to think of it more like, so many people are so used to routine and things that they consider "normal," and it is our job to give them a shake and wake them up to the other possibilities out there.

Re: Making the world a weirder place

Posted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 5:55 am UTC
by Mathmagic
You know what makes the world a weirder place? People who wear trenchcoats.

Re: Making the world a weirder place

Posted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 6:06 am UTC
by Solt
__Kit wrote:Also, who the fuck wants to be normal? You got one lifetime, why be like everyone else?


I feel like sig'ing this.

I take the opportunity to make someone's life a little bit stranger whenever I get it, but usually I'm content with being weird myself. Having completely different and often questionable interpretations of ordinary events, making weird jokes, using weird logic or pretending to forget simple things like the fact that pain killers exists.

Yes. Pretending.

...

I'll be right back.

Re: Making the world a weirder place

Posted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 7:02 am UTC
by williamager
koalabäh wrote:It's not simply for the sake of being weird. It's for the sake of making the world weird, the rationale being that a weirder world makes weirder, more conscious people.

That's what I hope, anyway.


These are very blurry distinctions, and I think much of it depends on the feelings of the individual. Too often, people do try to be weird essentially for the sake of being weird, without any clear rationale. Making the world a weirder place is amusing, but it is my belief that if one is to do so, one should do so with activities one is passionate about, not with actions designed to be as bizarre as possible. One should not (with apologies to Kizor) want to become a genuine eccentric, and plan one's actions to that end. One's own passions should lead one to eccentricity as a natural consequence, or that eccentricity will necessarily seem artificial.

Re: Making the world a weirder place

Posted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 8:19 am UTC
by GusPatsy
I vandalize remote spots in tiny print that no one is ever likely to find. Usually with things like
You have seen my dog?

I'm not sure what my motivation for it is, I suppose the hilarity of someone ever finding one of these scribblings somewhat makes up for the fact that no one ever will.

Edit: in retrospect, I don't see how anyone could find this funny, or even vaguely interesting, but it still cracks me up.

Re: Making the world a weirder place

Posted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 8:49 am UTC
by thecommabandit
ascendingPig wrote:
Algernon wrote:I'd much rather be weird than normal. When you're legitimately weird, you can get away with a LOT more.

Completely agreed.

A lot of kids think at school think I'm autistic. But actually, I'm just not bothering with social niceties because they'll stop expecting me to, and if I say something like, "I believe it is fair to say that you, madame, are a dumb cunt," she can't get angry because she doesn't think that I know any better. It also hurts all that much more, I'd think, to know that it's an honest belief and not just someone trying to look cool and devil-may-care.

All this means that I get to sit in the back of the chemistry classroom twitching and dangling a pencil over my nose while trying to create the Bernoulli Effect using a braid and something vaguely tapered, and nobody bats an eye.


I'm not sure what people think of me, but I think I might be autistic =P No-one's ever tried to ship me off to a psychologist though so I'm not too bothered. I (hopefully) have a reputation for honesty as well, but I usually don't get pissed off enough to go up and call someone a cunt/dick/bastard, since I just tend not to communicate with anyone I don't like.

I can do weird things without question too, just last English class I was balancing the book we were working on on my head for about half the lesson and no-one even looked at me strange. Girl sitting next to me did complain when we needed to read it though.

Re: Making the world a weirder place

Posted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 9:14 am UTC
by TheKhakinator
I try to create chaos rather then make things weird, but it's similar.

For example, one of my recent exploits was a destruction of the organised seating arrangements. Students had adopted a set seating pattern, nothing official, but everyone always sat in the same spots. I organised for myself and a couple of others to show up early and take different seats to cause the people we stole seats from to move, who would then cause other people to have to move and so on. Was a lot of fun.

Re: Making the world a weirder place

Posted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 11:34 am UTC
by MoonBuggy
Kizor wrote:Next week, I'll put up three of a series of postcards from 1910 speculating about life in 2000. The week after that, an ostrich wagon and other novelties.


Can someone fill me in as to what's futuristic about this one?

Also best videophone evar.

Re: Making the world a weirder place

Posted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 11:54 am UTC
by Amicitia
__Kit wrote:
CaraInFrames wrote:Sorry, but is being weird for the sheer sake of being weird not kind of defeating the purpose? It all just seems a tad contrived.


Isn't it just like me asking you the same about being normal, weird is some peoples normal.

Also, who the fuck wants to be normal? You got one lifetime, why be like everyone else?

Being normal is akin to being mediocre: one does not try, but simply is. Thoughtless violation of norms is stupid and possibly harmful.

With that said, things that might not seem normal seem very fulfilling to me. Looking at the sky, bringing a pillow to class, talking with shady figures, and telling people about my day when they ask "how are you doing" are only a few of the things I consider good fun.

Re: Making the world a weirder place

Posted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 12:21 pm UTC
by ZeroSum
MoonBuggy wrote:Can someone fill me in as to what's futuristic about this one?
I don't remember anyone coming up with a credible theory on the last thread, but I think it might be the miniature proportions: Meal-in-a-pill, perhaps.

Re: Making the world a weirder place

Posted: Mon Oct 08, 2007 12:10 am UTC
by ascendingPig
Last year I went around school asking people what they would do if zombies invaded our hometown and submitting the responses to our school newspaper. But they didn't print it.

This year I hope to organize a group of people to knit scarves by some alloted date, then go around New York City wrapping them around the necks of statues to keep them warm. If I don't do it, I'd appreciate it if someone else tried it. Because I never commit myself to such projects.

Re: Making the world a weirder place

Posted: Mon Oct 08, 2007 1:00 am UTC
by Flying Betty
I think there's a fine line between going out and doing weird things for the attention you get by being weird, and going out and doing weird things because you think it would be fun or are curious to see what reactions you get. Not that I haven't done both of those at some point or another, but it's the difference between wearing whatever the hell you feel like and deliberately not wearing popular things so you can be a nonconformist.

That said, swordfights in the hallways, walking around barefoot, and sitting in the nooks in the wall that were only remotely comfortable for someone my height or shorter are all good fun.

Re: Making the world a weirder place

Posted: Mon Oct 08, 2007 8:15 am UTC
by Oblivious Bear
I wouldn't consider myself flamboyantly weird. This is kind of as close to a personal motto as I have. The closest I come to deliberate weirdness is deliberate weirdness to provoke reactions; that was a significant part of my decision to learn to unicycle (now I just ride because it's fun and fulfilling). However, reading this thread has given me a lot of ideas that sound inherently fun, such as hidden miniscule vandalism, answering questions about my day in earnest, random distribution of wisdom, random collection of wisdom, spontaneous dancing (I already occasionally skip down the street/pathway/whatever with my female friends), and private decoration of public places. I also really need to buy a trenchcoat; when it's cold in the mornings and hot in the afternoons, I could wear shorts if I had a trenchcoat!

Re: Making the world a weirder place

Posted: Mon Oct 08, 2007 8:31 am UTC
by Hoags
I once made a tiny, tiny blue-tac man and sat him on the handrail at school. He was sat there happily for a good few days before he met his demise. I like to think whoever found it was smiling when they took him from his cold metal seat.

Re: Making the world a weirder place

Posted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 1:38 am UTC
by antonfire
I like to modify whiteboards and signs so that they say inane things. For example, I changed "Students: for course related questions, see Prof. Doe" to "Students: for curse related questions, see Prof. Doe", and "staff parking only" to "staff king only".

I walk around in a skirt sometimes, I'm barefoot most of the time. I'm learning how to skateboard, so I think soon I'll end up looking quite strange.

Re: Making the world a weirder place

Posted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 2:07 am UTC
by DaMullet
I take the twist ties from the produce section of the grocery store and twist them into stick figures in fantasy battle regalia (rapier, buckler, horses to ride, etc.) and leave them with their feet twisted to the shopping carts.

I also sign all my tests and assignments at school as 'Mullet, Esq.'
People know to whom to give them. I correct people when they end sentences in prepositions, especially when the sentence was so long and confusing that by time I'm done correcting them they've lost their train of thought.

I put duct tape on my shoes to waterproof them. I headbang to slow songs. I listen to daft punk in the halls, and hum Lemon Demon songs during tests.
I basically own and maintain a collection of confusion growing steadily larger.

Re: Making the world a weirder place

Posted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 2:08 am UTC
by bbctol
DaMullet wrote:I take the twist ties from the produce section of the grocery store and twist them into stick figures in fantasy battle regalia (rapier, buckler, horses to ride, etc.) and leave them with their feet twisted to the shopping carts.


Lessons? This sounds awesome.

ZeroSum wrote:
MoonBuggy wrote:Can someone fill me in as to what's futuristic about this one?
I don't remember anyone coming up with a credible theory on the last thread, but I think it might be the miniature proportions: Meal-in-a-pill, perhaps.


The French title was something along the lines of "The Chemical Meal".

Re: Making the world a weirder place

Posted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 2:17 am UTC
by Geekthras
I've done this a couple times (except the last part). It usually gets to 9 before someone makes it fall off. The guy in the video has the most awesomest hair EVER. I also once talked only backwards for a day and used the theory of Intellectual Osmosis on someone.

Re: Making the world a weirder place

Posted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 6:38 am UTC
by Dibley
I don't try to be weird just for the sake of being weird, but I won't hold back from doing something amusing just because people might think it's odd. For instance, I just got an awesome RC helicopter off of woot (go get a 2 pack for $20!), and I will try and hover it outside of fourth floor classrooms during class (I'm not sure how easy they are to reliably control), or perhaps someones dorm window. Maybe I'll mess with the case and put a fake camera on them, or a sign or something.

Re: Making the world a weirder place

Posted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 6:51 am UTC
by williamager
DaMullet wrote:I correct people when they end sentences in prepositions, especially when the sentence was so long and confusing that by time I'm done correcting them they've lost their train of thought.


The subject of the thread, however, is the making of the world into a weirder place, not the upholding of a cherished superstition, and that correction would seem to fall into the latter category unless you support Dryden's view and explain this to your interlocutors. If that is the case, I must admit that I am impressed with your perseverance in continuing to hold an opinion so widely attacked by so many over so long a time.

Re: Making the world a weirder place

Posted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 8:26 pm UTC
by Dibley
williamager wrote:
DaMullet wrote:I correct people when they end sentences in prepositions, especially when the sentence was so long and confusing that by time I'm done correcting them they've lost their train of thought.


The subject of the thread, however, is the making of the world into a weirder place, not the upholding of a cherished superstition, and that correction would seem to fall into the latter category unless you support Dryden's view and explain this to your interlocutors. If that is the case, I must admit that I am impressed with your perseverance in continuing to hold an opinion so widely attacked by so many over so long a time.


Or maybe he holds to the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis, and as a consequence believes that sloppy grammar may result in inherently flawed thought?

Re: Making the world a weirder place

Posted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 11:12 pm UTC
by Øsse
Once in a while I draw this character on one of the desks (shame on me) in my the auditoriums at my uni and then make a guestbook-thingy beneath it inviting people to say hi to him, because he says hi to them and he is a nice guy:

Image
(scanned from my note book)

Example.

Seems to me the cleaners choose not to clean it. Actually a lot of people say hi to him as well, but everything is written with pencils so by the time I make it back the week after it's very difficult to read.

I'm thinking about switching paper on the bulletin boards around school instead, because writing on the desks is a bad habit even though it in good spirits or whatever.

Maybe I'll make a simple web comic. The basic idea is that the dude's a nice guy, and he's supposed to bring out the good in people.

Re: Making the world a weirder place

Posted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 11:53 pm UTC
by DaMullet
williamager wrote:The subject of the thread, however, is the making of the world into a weirder place, not the upholding of a cherished superstition, and that correction would seem to fall into the latter category unless you support Dryden's view and explain this to your interlocutors. If that is the case, I must admit that I am impressed with your perseverance in continuing to hold an opinion so widely attacked by so many over so long a time.

Perhaps we hold different definitions of the term 'weird.'

I use it to mean "away from the accepted norms" rather than any specific direction of deviation. As such, my correction of people is mostly in jest, and more commonly done to distract them from something they are saying. Also, who is this Dryden of whom you speak?

bbctol: here's the step-by-step, maybe with pictures later, since I'm not at the grocery store now.
Materials: Several twist ties
1: Take one twist tie and connect the ends such that it is a circle. It can take some practice to make it large enough to serve as the head and still stick together well.
2: Take one twist tie, and attach it to the head, so that you have a lollipop.
3: Take two twist ties, connect them at one end, so that you have one long twist tie. Connect it to the lollipop to become the legs.
4: Take one twist tie, and fold it in half about 2/3 to 3/4 of the way up the body. Secure it, it's now both your arms.
5: Apply your equipment. Swords are easy, spears are easier. Shields take some work, mine are usually bucklers since they fasten to the one arm easily. Horses are complicated, and detailed in the next section.
6: One twist tie is your body, one is the head (it takes some work to make the head look horsey, work at it) and twist two around the body like you did for the man's arms to be legs. the tail is either part of the body or a new tie, your choice. It's also your choice how you stick him onto the horse, which is tricky.
7: Leave them on the cart. I usually put them in a sitting position, with their legs around the grate, but sometimes they're climbing the side all Swashbuckler-like, and sometimes they're tucked into the child seat clip, hanging from the cord.
--------------------------
I also use drinking straws to shoot fancy toothpicks (with the plastic frill on one end, you put them in club sandwiches and things). I'm keeping a collection of them in the acoustic tiling at work, we've got 40 or 50 back there now. I'm also putting some in the ceilings at school. They stick in the tiles really well.

Re: Making the world a weirder place

Posted: Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:29 am UTC
by Okita
I am a big fan of making people's worlds more surreal. I did lots of fun stuff (mostly involving dancing) in my high school and now I've been working on making my college campus more surreal. Part of my plan involves me finally shelling out money for a guitar and learning to play it so I can attempt to play Jonathan Coulton songs around school.

Cuz well... Code Monkey likes Fritos. Code Monkey likes tab and mountain dew. Code monkey very special man with big warm fuzzy secret heart. Code monkey like you.

Also, as long as you're not freaking people out in the "is that guy a murderer" way, it puts a smile on people's faces (unless inside they are cold non-feeling robots or boring). I remember when we were walking throughout the streets post- september meetup with a boombox playing Staying Alive. We strutted along passing people and I remember this woman who was biking and could not wipe the smile off her face as she passed us strutting along.

Good times.

Re: Making the world a weirder place

Posted: Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:34 am UTC
by thisisdavid
my lifelong ambition is to drop down from a paneled ceiling into my old algebra 2 classroom dressed in a spiderman suit, scream and knock books over, and run out. all while im being filmed from the door.

Re: Making the world a weirder place

Posted: Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:35 am UTC
by Okita
thisisdavid wrote:my lifelong ambition is to drop down from a paneled ceiling into my old algebra 2 classroom dressed in a spiderman suit, scream and knock books over, and run out. all while im being filmed from the door.


I sort of did that. I propped myself all ninja like at the ceiling of a corridor and then freaked out a friend who was walking into the corridor and then ran away. Bwahahahaahahaha ninjas.

Re: Making the world a weirder place

Posted: Wed Oct 10, 2007 4:12 am UTC
by TradaPIB
I'm just weird. I do weird stuff even when nobody is watching.

Re: Making the world a weirder place

Posted: Wed Oct 10, 2007 4:32 am UTC
by thisisdavid
Okita wrote:
thisisdavid wrote:my lifelong ambition is to drop down from a paneled ceiling into my old algebra 2 classroom dressed in a spiderman suit, scream and knock books over, and run out. all while im being filmed from the door.


I sort of did that. I propped myself all ninja like at the ceiling of a corridor and then freaked out a friend who was walking into the corridor and then ran away. Bwahahahaahahaha ninjas.


haha i did that to my friend when i was around nine, i ended up racking myself on his face, but yeah, it did scare him

Re: Making the world a weirder place

Posted: Wed Oct 10, 2007 4:36 am UTC
by Oblivious Bear
What exactly is "racking yourself"?

Re: Making the world a weirder place

Posted: Wed Oct 10, 2007 5:50 am UTC
by podbaydoor
Hopefully in a couple of weeks my friends and I will be doing confrontational Dr. Seuss in the public speaking area of campus, emulating street preacher style but we'll be screaming "I DO NOT LIKE GREEN EGGS AND HAM SAM I AM" in people's faces.

But other than that, I don't do weird things much, for the sake of being weird, aside from the odd public rendition of the Pokémon theme. I admit to being somewhat of a coward/lazy person when it comes to drawing attention to myself.

Re: Making the world a weirder place

Posted: Wed Oct 10, 2007 7:01 am UTC
by rxninja
I guess something "weird" I've done was back when I worked at Best Buy. I worked on the sales floor, so at some point I decided that I would simply take everyone's questions literally. I'd get things like:

"Can I ask you a question?"
"Well, you just did. Did you want to ask another one?"

and

"Do you know where such and such is?"
"Yes."
"....?"
"Ohhh, you want me to actually share that information with you?"


It came across as kind of dick when some customers didn't have a sense of humor, but I think it goes along with the "making the world a weirder place" thing because it was my effort to make the world how I think it should be. If you have a question, ask the question you really want the answer to. If you want something, make that clear instead of asking oblique questions. I happened to work in retail, so that's where I happened to manifest those beliefs.

Re: Making the world a weirder place

Posted: Wed Oct 10, 2007 7:46 am UTC
by TheKhakinator
I want to play a gig with my band in a supermarket carpark standing on top of our cars.
If anyone wants to make a band with me and do this, then that's also cool.