November 13, 2013

Disturbing Patterns

Slow down. Take it easy! Take time to smell the flowers. Smile! Look at the clouds! Don't miss the forest for the trees. In today's world, it isn't surprising we have so many disposable phrases that are essentially variations of: wake up from your stupor and look the fuck around you (this means you, tourist with face buried in map, friend obsessed with cell phone, guy sexting and driving). When we do emerge from our cyber- or other-cocoons, what we notice can range from the mundane to the highly amazing or disturbing, depending on the depth and breadth of our attention. Focused attention over time, in particular, can lead to the awareness of large trends.

For example, now, as I'm writing this, it's Wednesday. As I type, I notice Wednesday has two Es in it. Yesterday, Tuesday had only one E. Then, thinking back, Monday had none. Do you realize what is going on here? If I were a beast, even a domesticated animal, I might wait around to see what comes next, but as an intelligent human being, I can forecast and learn - I can use what I've seen before, recognize the trend, and extrapolate the future! What comes next? Obviously the day with three Es!

(click any picture to enlarge)

Clearly, this is a case of pure linear growth. 0, 1, 2, and next, tomorrow must have 3 Es. Theeresday? The day after that, which I've heard typically pronounced 'Fry Day' must be spelled with four Es: Freeeeday, Freedaeey, or perhaps Feereeday. Although I've heard talk of 'Satyr Day' and 'Sun Day' following Feereeday, I'm not really sure how to spell those with 5 and 6 Es respectively. No doubt some of you readers have had more schooling than me and will be able to offer corrections.

In a wholly different arena, I heard talk yesterday of both Transformers 4 and GI Joe 3. Now, I said to myself, stop right there. The last time I cared, there was ONE Transformers movie - namely, Transformers: the Fucking Movie, and exactly one GI Joes Say Yo Joe 500 Times in a Row. I recall they were both pretty awesome, what with Leonard Nimoy, Orson Fucking Welles, Meredith Burgess, Stan Bush, and a fucking planet-eating transforming planet. But I digress. It turns out that, indeed, as of 2011, there were a lot more 80s-throwback-movies-cum-pointless-remakes than I thought. Four additional wholly unnecessary Transformers movies, in fact, and two additional Joes. Given the facts that Transformers: the Movie came out in '86, and GI Joe in '87, then, we can graph the pattern over time:

As you can see, the next sad excuse for a Transformers movie will be out in 2019, while the Joes strike back in 2023. (THIS I COMMAND!!!) Two full saddening trilogies of each series will be complete in 2026 and 2059 respectively. The thirteenth Transformers movie should be out in time for the 100th anniversary of the only one worth watching.

In a related vein: last time I checked, everyone and his mom was going to play the new Batman in a new movie, and Nuclear Man had beaten down Superman into the Phantom-Hope-of-a-Sequel Zone. Not so now, in which they boast 7 and 6 movies respectively. But what is interesting here is the case of tortoise-and-hare (or "traumatized grown man dresses up in a tortoise suit and humanoid alien runs fast as a jackrabbit"). Bruce Wayne came late to his own party - some eleven years after Clark Kent, but has now bested the man of steel in total film production:

We can see that Man of Steel II is due around 2018, and Batman: Dork Night IV or whatever in 2015 already. Meanwhile, for better or for worse, Batman XX and Man of Steel V are effectively in reach of the life expectancy of you, dear readers.

Another disturbing pattern I've noticed comes courtesy of UNITED AIRLINES. Yesterday, they kindly mailed me an invitation to join their little Frequent Sky Pass Miles Star Alliance Honors Gold Club, which entails an annual fee of $95. Being a somewhat frequent flier, I considered their offer briefly, but tabled it without deciding in their favor.

Then, today, what do I receive in the mail but ANOTHER offer from United, this time to join the Premier Elite Frequent SkyPassMiles Lucky Star Magic Super Alliance Honors Fun Silver Platinum Global Gold Gold Club Gold. Of course, yesterday's offer with the $95 annual fee turned me off, but what about this one? What annual fee would they propose for this new privilege? Turns out: $375, or, as it feels more representative to write, THREE HUNDRED SEVENTY-FIVE DOLLARS.

Are they insane??

JUNIOR MARKETER 1: Hey guys, this fella isn't going for the 95-buck fee club. I mailed him the invite yesterday and he STILL hasn't responded. What should I do?
JUNIOR MARKETER 2: How about offering a discount, or maybe invite him to that 50 bucks-a-year club?
SENIOR MARKETER: Wrong wrong WRONG. Invite him to the premier club and charge him 375. And make all his current miles expire.
JUNIOR MARKETER 1: ...You're the boss.

In graphical form, here's what's going on:

This is an example of exponential growth - increasing increases - dwarfing the linear trends we've seen in previous plots. To be specific, this relationship requires a quadratic function to define, which is approximately y = 92.5x2 + 372.5x + 375. From this I have projected that in tomorrow's mail I will find an invitation to join the Double Premier Super Mega Blah Blah Kitty Club, entailing a low low yearly fee of just $840. The day after that, SuperDuper Smiley McMiles Club will cost $1490 a year. THEN what happens if I still don't respond?

In three and a half months, when their membership offer will top $1,000,000, I will finally join the program, have the first yearly fee waived, and then quit just before the one-year point. I expect my benefits in the 364 days to be commensurate with the yearly fee: SOLID GOLD PEANUTS, unlimited CARS, and seats the size of small nations, made of the hair of live puppies.

Now it isn't just weekdays, vapid entertainment, and the transportation industries that contain disturbing patterns such as these. Oh no. Closer to home, for example, might be something like, oh let's say... the starting time of your favorite traditional jazz jam session in NYC.

The Mona's show originally started at 10PM every Tuesday night, way back in 2009. Thereafter the start time has crept steadily later and later, until at the present day it effectively starts around 11:15PM (though it is stubbornly 11PM on paper). With this growth trend, we can predict what will happen in coming years:

As of May 2015, the session will no longer start on Tuesday, but technically on Wednesday. Now let's take a longer look:

Sometime in 2047, the session's start time will be FIRMLY Wednesday morning, around 10AM (about the earliest hour jazz musicians might awake). 38 years after that, it will again be a 10PM event, but on Wednesday night instead of Tuesday. Finally, for those who wish Mona's were a weekend night event, just hold tight for May 2239, every Feereeday (?) at 10PM; fundamentalists pining for a return to the original start time need only twiddle their thumbs 533 years.

In other music news, audiences have noticed an interesting trend at the monthly beergarden show of the Stompers jazz band. Last month, the band had three Matts playing with them - on trombone, clarinet, and sitting in on sax. This month, there was only one Matt, again on clarinet. This is bad news.

At this rate, next month's show will feature -1 Matt. They will hire one Matt, but he won't show up at the gig. Or, perhaps when they begin to play, one Matt who was already at the beergarden will mysteriously disappear. In a few months more, the band will have to be ordering Matts in bulk, or somehow partnering with the International Club of Matts With Death Wishes or something. Very tricky...

But even this is not the most disturbing thing I have noticed. Oh no. As I write this I am in Chandler, AZ, a charming little desert town... which will be BOILED ALIVE BY DAY'S END.

At 8AM, it was a crisp 59 ºF outside. But at 10AM, it had reached 68º, 9 degrees warmer; now, at noon, it has heated another 11 degrees to a balmy 79º. It's become twenty degrees hotter in a mere four hours, at an increasing rate (y = x2/4 + 4x + 59, to be exact). As you and I both know and fear deep down inside, this spells DOOOOOOM for the sleepy little Chandler:

As I sit here and type, with a drop of sweat forming on my brow, I know that the temperatures outside will soar past 100º in a little over three hours. This evening, the current record for highest temperature ever recorded here will be shattered. 12 hours from now, it will become an unbearable 143º. At midnight, an unbelievable 187º. Finally, at 2AM, things hit 212º, and WATER BOILS. And, unless I'm far away from here by then, OH YEAH MY BLOOD IS ALSO BOILING!! and CHANDLER IS FUCKED BIG TIME.

But would I be safe even then? Are YOU, dear readers, who may be leagues and leagues away from doomed Chandler, safe??

Guess what?

Guessing time is over.

As you can see here, I've noticed the most disturbing pattern of all. October had 31 days. This month, November will have only 30. I've confirmed with outside sources that next February will have only 27 days (though some report 28). In the coming year, we can see that months will dwindle by 1/3, down to 20 days apiece.

It gets worse. Not only will we eventually lose Christmas, Valentine's Day, and all other holidays, but, as you see below, this graph continues all the way to THE ZERO POINT. The ROCK BOTTOM. THE END OF TIME AND THE WORLD. Ladies and gentlemen, the last month and day of the world will be April 1, 2016: the day we are all made fools.

This is the trend to end all trends. The Alpha and Omega of patterns. I am so sorry that I ever looked up from my cell phone and saw the trees, and glanced at the clouds passing in the sky... I am sorry I ever gazed up at the stars, and wondered at the nightly changes of the moon. I am sorry I marveled at the world with its patterns and cycles and discovered the ghastly underworld of numbers that lay beneath it all. And above all I am sorry I was cursed with this hideous awareness, this mad revelation, and chose to share this evil knowledge with you, dear reader.

Put your affairs in order now. Tie your loose ends. Make amends. And please, please, forgive me.

If you must reach me here in Chandler, please make it before 2AM tonight.

1 comment:

  1. I need to go pick up the pieces of my brain that just flew everywhere.