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Saturday, October 24, 2015

How my tastes diverged from the rest of humanity

This is probably way too personal for this blog, but what the hell.

Anyway, this didn't happen overnight, but somehow step by step things I enjoy drifted far past the normal nerdy territory into something that's just weird. And not just in one domain, which would be perfectly reasonable, it seems to have happened to pretty much everything I like.

Here's a bunch of examples.


I never had a TV in my life (that didn't stop BBC's TV licensing from sending people to harass me), but I used to really love movies. I've seen nearly everything on IMDB top 100. Unfortunately somehow I lost my abilities to watch movies. I just end up alt tabbing to something else ten minutes in. And it's not like I don't enjoy them - if I end up watching some in a situation where social convention prevents alt-tabbing, I often quite like them.

It would be obvious to suggest that I just have some issues with concentration, but I can watch whole day's worth of Let's Plays or Mythbusters or Star Trek reruns or (before it got cancelled) Colbert Report just fine with no issues whatsoever. Except of course I'm watching them at 180% speed, and I find slower speeds really uncomfortable. Movies I can't watch at any speed.

As for various TV series, I just have no interest in vast majority of them, but I don't have urge to alt-tab comparable to what I have with movies (at any speed).


I feel nearly physical pain when I hear men singing. It's not that I don't enjoy Justin Bieber or One Direction, whenever youtube decides to play it on shuffle, it's like someone punched my ears and I absolutely have to drop everything I'm doing and turn this fucking crap off. And it's not just some particular artists - as a good approximation it applies to every male vocalist.

I can find a few exceptions to this pattern. Most often it's ones whose voices are very heavily computer-distorted and generally pitch-shifted, or someone who's not technically singing like Peter Hollens, I can totally enjoy that. There are also some exceptions I can't easily explain, but generally I have extremely strong and completely instinctual negative reaction to all male singers, and I think I always had it.

That still leaves the female half of popular music, at least anything which would work as Dance Dance Revolution song. Here's my data from before my iPod died in an accident involving cat and a lot of water. maistream-o-meter tells me that was 13% mainstream, which is like Sophie Ellis-Bextor level - not exactly mainstream, but nothing too crazy.

Of course it only diverged further.

Then I decided everything sounds better at 140% speed (without pitch distortions). Faster Katy Perry or Metric isn't exactly that unusual right? Or high speed AVbyte, or Malukah, or The Guild... And a few days ago I discovered Nightcore, obviously at 140% as well, which inspired me to write this post.


I've been doing my best to avoid paper books, mostly going for audiobooks if possible. Before I figured out how to keep pitch normal I could only go to 140%, after I figured out how to speed them up without messing up the pitch it want up 170% (no particular reason why it's a bit slower than videos, these things evolved independently). If there's no audiobook I'll just go for kindle, and for paper as last resort, as paper is really inconvenient, and I want to give my eyes some rest from so much computer use.

Anyway, as for content I almost exclusively read (disregarding medium) nonfiction. So what about things like Game of Thrones? It's really a nonfiction documentary of a place which just happens to be imaginary. Books like The World of Ice & Fire cross this line even harder, but most scifi/fantasy is more about the world than about characters, which makes it at least halfway nonfiction.

Of course every time I read (or for that matter watch) anything, it's alt-tab to some wiki for context, because linear narratives are so 19th century.

A lot of books I ended up reading like Harry Potter or Twilight (sure, I know, mainstream as hell) I did because I first read some fanfiction happening in some universe, and then I checked context on a wiki somewhere, and as that was interesting I went for source material last.

Of course this route doesn't always work. After some MLP fanfics I decided to watch some MLP, and that was definitely not for me.

I mentioned fanfics here, but I haven't read many, mostly because it's fairly difficult to filter out good ones from huge volume being written, and unfortunately the same applies to fiction books (nonfiction filtering by subject or by author's Daily Show interview quality is reasonably accurate).

I had decent amount of success finding good content by reading for short story collections, as they tend to be pre-filtered well, and in worst case, it's a short story, so not huge loss of time if it ends up sucking.

For movies IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes etc. are fairly decent at finding out good ones (unfortunately I can't really watch movies any more), I don't think there's anything even remotely reasonable for books. I've heard that once upon a time one could have relied on various awards like Hugos, but that was before SJW vs Puppies shitstorm. 

Video Games

I literally spend more time modding video games than playing them. And now I'm recording about half of what I play for fun.


My idea of good food is something like this:

You can find more pics here and here. Because I decided to make tons of pics of everything I eat (about 1/3 of the days this year have full photo coverage).

Compared with other things, it's only moderately divergent, if you ignore this photo aspect.

What I eat would probably approximately match what someone who vaguely doesn't want to eat gluten would, except I don't give a shit about gluten, it's just coincidentally mostly present in foods I don't find particularly tasty. Or approximately like food someone who wants to eat sort of paleo, except rice is sort of paleo, and ice cream is sort of too delicious, and coffee is sort of too necessary to skip.

And it continues...

These are some relatively publishable things, but it's just as divergent if not more in less publishable ones, and it only seems to be getting more so.

Sometimes rest of the world seems to catch up with my preferences, like it figured out wikis are awesome after I spent way too much time trying to tell the world so, and it seems to be finally figuring out that religion is kinda bullshit, and people are slowly figuring out that Ruby is the best programming language and static typing is for losers.

I'm not sure if this is any kind of pattern, or it's just that if I have enough tastes divergent with mainstream a few of them will happen to just randomly become more mainstream with time, and others even less so.

By the way, none of these differences seem to be causing any serious problems.

Oh and there are a few things where my preferences seem to very mainstream - like cats.

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