May 2008

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
        1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

« Now THAT’S a Party! | Main | Kick Me in the Virtual Nuts »


Free William

Still catching up.

Scott of course you have no spontaneity. Your inability to believe in free will is a symptom of the same problem.
Remind her that the reliability and consistency that you are wanted/needed for preclude spontaneity.


Spontaneous? Let's see -- went to a play by an experimental theatre group with a friend, his girlfriend, and her friend on one hour's notice. Somewhat spontaneous?

Going to the Owl Bar for half-yards of ale afterwards? Slightly more spontaneous, though not unexpected.

Mentioning that I have a sailboat, and both ladies jump up excitedly and say, "Oh, boy, can we see it sometime?" and me replying "How about now?" and driving out to the marina at midnight to show them the boat? Definitely spontaneous!

Going for a midnight sail on the bay? Priceless! I mean spontaneous! (especially the part where I told the girl that the night was chilly, and that my copy of Chapman's Small Boat Navigation recommended that the best cure for hypothermia was to wrap blankets around yourself and the victim while both are in minimal clothing. True -- look it up!)



Not that you'll read this Scott, but if I'd stopped to think that before starting writing I wouldn't be me...

Spontaneity can be incredibly unsettling - when you can't reign it in. An example like "What is this in my mouth and how did it get there?" is relegated to crippling anterograde amnesia - but a lesser version of that is the often unpleasant reality that people with ADHD face constantly.

Tiny violins ahead: It's frustrating to get a really great idea, start chasing it down - finding another great idea, chasing it down, etc., until the day's over, you don't know where all the time went, and you haven't successfully chased down a single great idea. And that experience is cumulative - it gets repeated over years and years.

Other than that, it's fun.

Kind of like hiding your own Easter eggs.


Rich, about snakes and tits:

It might surprise you that many male snakes have two penises. Did you ever see one? I figure if they can hide two of those, hiding two breasts would be a piece of cake.

And what a great strategy. An insurance penis. No wonder they lost their legs.


I'm particularly spontaneous either. While I don't think I can define the concept in a way that others won't argue over, I think I can possibly provide an example of a time when I behaved spontaneously.

I was in LA visiting my friend. We had no specific plans for the day. I like boat trips, so we went down to Marina del Rey planning to go on their short tour of the marina. After we got to the marina, we realized that we could spend a little bit more and go all the way out to Catalina Island. We would be coming back from Catalina after dark. If I had been prepared for that, I would have brought a jacket (and worn more sunscreen). But despite not having correct attire for the trip home, nor really having enough time to do a whole lot of anything once we got there, we splurged and bought tickets to Catalina.




"I've said it before and I'll say it again. Women are just snakes with tits."

I'm sorry. But this comment stopped me.
Not b/c some might call it offensive (hate that word!)
but b/c I'm trying to imagine a snake with tits!
They'd have to be on its back, b/c having them on the "front" would be really uncomfortable to slither around.

Now imagine the snake with legs, arms and long blonde hair. I don't really think women have no limbs, it's just a turn of phrase.

I don't hate women, I just wish that I could.


I'm late with reading and - having just started - wonder how a discussion about spontaneity turn into a "snake-with-tits" discussion?! Stopped me from reading further, because - even though this will get me the usual snide reactions - I don't like to be confronted with hatred when reading a blog for fun ...
Prude with tits


On the off chance that you're making a serious inquiry, when people speak of "being spontaneous", they typically mean either doing something a bit out of the ordinary (although walking to Cuba is a bit TOO out!) on the spur of the moment or, more commonly, a willingness to make spur of the moment CHANGES in plans, without really considering much the consequences.

Yeah, that area's ripe for comedy, too.

For example, you plan to go out for dinner and a movie but you get stuck in some construction zone and, looking over, you see the boardwalk. "Let's skip the dinner & movie, and go ride roller-coasters & eat cotton candy all night long" would be an example of what many people mean by "spontaneous."

Others call it "flaky", especially if 2 other couples are waiting at the Italian place for you to show up, and you spontaneously decide not to call them to tell them your changed plans. :)

"Spontaneous" = "flakey", but everyone that you were going to flake on agrees the new plan is better, so no actual flaking takes place.

Will Von Wizzlepig

spontaneity is a combination of people skills and the will to take a risk.

the people skills come in when you are growing up, and you learn what acceptable public behavior is (which many geeks do not seem to have a handle on), and your knowledge becomes second nature.

the willingness to take a risk- you will possibly look stupid when being spontaneous, as spontaneity does NOT always work out, no matter how well-defined your people skills are.

spontaneity is a skill.

geeks, by definition, are often thinking in a completely different frame of mind, so when they think of something quick and funny, the only people who get it are other geeks...

people skills, Scott. Of course, you've already found your audience.


Every man with short term memory loss can be called sppontaneous then.......

what the hell am i doing here?


"I've said it before and I'll say it again. Women are just snakes with tits."

I'm sorry. But this comment stopped me.
Not b/c some might call it offensive (hate that word!)
but b/c I'm trying to imagine a snake with tits!
They'd have to be on its back, b/c having them on the "front" would be really uncomfortable to slither around.


"...snakes with tits." Rich just created the funniest line in this or any other commbox. And SOOOO true.


Spontaneity or the perception thereof is related to how long your period of apparent deliberation and your associated decision loop is before a decision. The extent of deliberation and the duration of a decision loop are usually directly proportional to percieved risk. Note the frequent weasel wordage: percieved risk, apparent deliberation, perception of spontaneity.

If someone minimum wage earner decides on a Saturday afternoon to go out and blow $5000 on a home stereo, and the time from initial consideration of the idea until execution is only a few hours, then he's being spontaneous. He's investing a big chunk of his cash (risk) with a short (relatively) period of consideration.

If a multi-talented wealthy cartoonist with a background in economics and piles of disposable income decides to blow $5000 on a home stereo, his risk is lower. In order to be spontaneous, he'd need to take about 1 minute (maximum) to consider and decide. To justify an afternoon's worth of considering and deciding, said cartoonist might have to decide to do something sizably more risky (for instance, run for president or come out of the closet).

True spontaneity would involve zero deliberation. The thought and the deed are one. This rarely happens. Percieved spontaneity is simply taking less time than the average person in considering and deciding to do something in which there is risk. The less relative time you take for any particular level of risk, the more spontaneous you are.

Note, none of this discussion addresses good and bad decision making. So, although you may be truly spontaneous by deciding to drop your trousers next time the police pull you over for speeding in your smart car, it is probably still going to get you a smackdown and the wife won't speak to you for a goodly period. So a bad decision is still a bad decision. But it could be spontaneous!


Is spontaneity just another word for moist robot system bugs?

Imagination and spontaneity are often closely associated. When you think about it, most of our time as a culture, before television, relied on weekly, if not daily, exercise for the imagination provided and coached by some guy at the front of our 'chosen' place of worship. Which is why books like the Bible got so popular: you could at least read lots and lots about sex and violence, even if all the pictures were mostly in your head.

And the promise of damanation or salvation. I think more people were capable and just chose (it was more fun) to imagine monstrous demons, and the catalogue of horrors that went with Hell rather than Heaven. 'Theatre of the Soul'? In any case, it probably went further in keeping a lot of young hormonally-induced spontaneity in check (and out of that criminal class you suggested) than anything else. I think in this period, a healthy amount of sacred scariness in the visual imagination really helped to keep society stable, and curtail a lot of negative imagination-induced activity to a certain level.

Imagination is an internal skill, but now we've really gone ahead and added it to our list of subcontracted mental skills--many have become absolutely dependent on leaving it all to the pros who are paid to imagine. Or at least, to create and distribute something that looks imaginative.

Ever wonder what the average sexual 'awakening' of a person in Victorian days must have been like, relative to that same experience today? More intense? Traumatic or super orgasmic? I mean, can you imagine a world where seeing an accidentally exposed ankle was enough to make a guy carry his clipboard in front of him for the rest of the day?

So does imagination rely on a certain signal to noise threshold to be deemed truly useful to the individual or society? Is society in danger of running out of real imagination? Does the fact that most kids have naturally better imaginations than adults say something about their relative social status, or our educational goals?

What would a society without imagination be like? Well, yes, a lot like Hollywood, I suppose. But wouldn't that mean we could all live under the apparent leadership of actors? (Would they even have to still be alive-- or human?)


[If I think of doing something a week in advance, I know that’s not spontaneous. A day in advance probably doesn’t count either. I assume an hour isn’t enough. But how about, say, five minutes in advance? Is that still premeditated, or is it getting closer to being spontaneous?]

I think the "time in advance" needed for a decision to be considered spontaneous is proportional to the magnitude of the decision. A week in advance is spontaneous for starting a world war. A day in advance is spontaneous for getting married or buying a house. An hour in advance is spontaneous for buying car. Five minutes in advance is spontaneous for seeing a movie. Note that all of these things are only spontaneous if you didn't seriously consider doing them prior to the countdown starting.

Jeffrey G. Harper

Your post reminded me of something I wrote on my web site a few years ago, indicating a desire to be more spontaneous. Perhaps you can learn spontaneity from that pondering:

Without a doubt, a rut has developed. It's time to break out of that rut by becoming more spontaneous. This goal will be achieved by:
1. Each morning, defining and documenting one spontaneous activity.
2. Determining when the aforementioned activity is to occur.
3. Determine what will be needed to carry out the aforementioned activity.
4. Determine risks associated with aforementioned activity.
5. If benefits outweigh risks, carry out aforementioned spontaneous activity according to plan.
Now, what could possibly be more spontaneous than that???

Diana Wales

My own personal definition of spontaneity involves being willing to change your plans immediately if a more attractive option arises. Here's an example:

Friend - Hey, I've got tickets to the Stones concert tonight, want to come?

Non-Spontaneous Person - Gee, I don't know. I didn't TIVO CSI, and I've got to water the plants, and traffic near the stadium is always bad, and I've got a meeting in the morning, and ...

Friend - Screw it loser


Take 2

Friend - Hey, I've got tickets to the Stones concert tonight, want to come?

Spontaneous Person - Yes!


I think that the ability to be spontaneous or not is one of the defining characteristics of whether you can become a professional cartoonist or not. As a professional you constantly have to think several weeks ahead of time. You have to think of storylines and where they'll go. But without that ability you wind up slapping out not terribly funny stuff as close to deadline as possible, which is too close for the syndicate's happyness.

I'm very spontaneous. I have no girlfriend so I don't have to include other people in my plans. I live in DC so there's lots going on and it's easy to get there.
If I were to start dating I'd have to plan everything at least two weeks ahead of time just to get on her schedule.

rita mae

JOE PIKE says: [Spontaneity is a trait of the selfish and the sociopathic. Spontaneous acts stem from immediately acting on your urges...often because you are not able to stop yourself.] Whoa, Joe! I will be sure to tell the ex-Marine you said that the next time he jumps me when I come home from work. What's wrong with immediately acting on your urges? Especially if nobody gets hurt (well, maybe a little hurt - but in a good way (snicker) )

BOB says: [How about spontaneous sex? I don't think that exists either.] Bob, Bob, Bob. I couldn't feel sorrier for you. I bet you don't believe in Santa either.

Thanks. Plug your book as much and as long as you want. Remember, Scotty, they are just jealous. (I said "long" - tee hee.)

Rita Mae


But your ideas to do things are spontaneous.

NSA the Accounting Troll

and spontaneous

David Almeida

My thing is spontaneous people clearly have a lot more time on their hands than I do. I find I'm so busy, the possibility of being spontaneous isn't even there. I really need to schedule some time ahead, block out a chunk specifically earmarked for spontaneity...


'I was being spontaneous' is just an excuse for doing something stupid. Sounds better than 'I acted without thinking first about whether it was a good idea or not'.


I think spontaneity all depends on how long it takes to put your coat on. If it takes an hour of faffing about, looking for stuff and just generally standing around, that's not spontaneous. A minute or so and your coat, hat and glove are ready, and that's spontaneity.

Many things in life can be measured by coat-putting-on.

The comments to this entry are closed.