Mind Google

In Mexico I did have internet access and I used it unwisely. By the end of the week I realized that I was not going to be a success at Twitter. I think some people (Choire, Sasha, various others) are geniuses of the form but I’m just not good at it, I need more words. Reduced to 140 characters or whatever it is I am incapable of writing anything but song lyrics like a teenager or dumb little truisms about the beauty of the sunset or whatnot. When I started posting Allisonian descriptions of my outfits I knew it was time to cut myself off. And yet people keep following me, in spite of my having walked away! Like that U2 song. Oh, Internet. So many different venues for us all to reveal how dumb our thoughts are, it’s one of the Internet’s signal marvel/horrors. Right up there with: you can inflict unlimited psychic harm on yourself at any time, but you can also watch pretty much any music video you want.

In Morocco I didn’t have anything resembling Internet access and it was So. Best. It was the longest I’ve gone without checking email since I actually have no idea when. And I had a lot of sobering and probably enriching experiences with something I like to call Mind Google.

I invented Mind Google sitting in the little Japanese-French teahouse on 13th St. near the New School with my friend Marisa. We were talking about how she was maybe going to a big outdoor music festival in Africa that’s sort of like Burning Man except all the “tribal” things and people and tattoos are, you know, actually tribal.

“In the chillout tent there they probably have, like, a shaman!” I said. Then I was like “Oh that reminds me of how funny the song ‘Chillout Tent‘ is, some blogger said it was the generation after mine’s ‘Summer Nights’ and I totally agree.” But then I couldn’t remember the name of the band that recorded this song. Neither could Marisa. We both had the ability to Google it on our phones but I challenged us not to, and then we sat there having that familiar horrible inability to recall a fact that we both completely knew. It’s excruciating, right, that feeling of rubbing up against that numb, almost-thought place in the brain?

Finally maybe 10 minutes later, while I was in that place’s tiny bathroom washing my hands, my mind relaxed enough for the words ‘The Hold Steady’ to bubble to its surface. I had successfully Mind Googled them. That is how Mind Google works: you perform a search, and then the results come up … later, sometime. It’s not very efficient, but doing it on a regular basis might prevent you from becoming a cyborg, or a retard.

I also invented a car game that uses Mind Google. (I know, I’m very prolific in some ways.) A very, very tolerant traveling companion (who UPDATE feels he is the true inventor of this game, I guess everyone is entitled to their own sense of what “really happened.” Also blog history is written by the early bird, as the saying goes) allowed me to play it with him during almost the whole minibus ride from Fez to El Jadida (5 hours, lots of scenic sheep). The game works like this: player one starts the game by saying a word, like the word could be “veils.” And then player two has to think of — and then sing — a line of a song that contains that word. So player two would obviously sing,

I’m dancing the seven veils/ want you to pick up my scarf.” Then she would say, “Seven.”

And player one would sing, “All seven and we’ll watch them fall/ they stand in the way of love and we will smoke them all.” Then he would say, “Smoke.”

Then player two would sing a line from “Smoke on the Water” or “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” or Jill Sobule’s “I Kissed A Girl.” You get it. This to me is the most fun game in the entire world, and I would go on a long car ride just to be allowed to play it. I would learn to drive in order to be allowed to play it. It was a real highlight of my trip to Morocco, no offense to Morocco (although, hot tip, Morocco: you might want to consider building a better sewage system and real toilets and also having heat and hot water indoors. And I understand that the whole ‘eating off a communal platter with your hand’ thing is a custom that goes back centuries and I am an insensitive cultural relativist absolutist for disapproving of it, but have you ever considered that it might result in everyone becoming infected with a ridiculously toxic death flu? I’m just trying to be helpful, Morocco. Also countries where women can’t walk around by themselves without being followed and harassed are bullshit.)

Long story short, I love America and I love New York City. I just want to stay here forever. All I want to do is just sit here and write it all down and rest for a while. (Welcome to my Sinead YouTube rabbit hole, incidentally. The best part of a Sinead rabbit hole is when you get to her performance at a Bob Dylan tribute concert right after her SNL pope-ripping. Can you imagine the giant iron-clad balls it would take to stand there and scream at the top of your lungs as that many people boo and jeer?)

The only time I wished I had the Internet in Morocco, besides when I inexplicably blanked on songs containing the word “velvet” (which, I know you just thought of three) was after I got the death-flu and I couldn’t get out of bed for several days. Luckily Marisa had lent me a box set of the first season of Deadwood. There is nothing better for sickness than 10 hours of basically any HBO show. My traveling companion disapproved of my weakness for this kind of entertainment, I think because (he says) it purports to be high-cultural or challenging but actually it’s only the hyperviolent, hyperprofane flip side of the ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ entertainment-coin, and actually he does a very funny imitation of, like, the voice Slate would speak in if Slate was a person saying “Six Feet Under is like a 19th-Century nooooovel. The Wire is like an Elizabethan plaaaaay.” Yes, ok, point taken. These shows are not like a novel. In a lot of instances they are better than a novel! Also when you’re sick you usually can’t focus on a novel, especially if you have a fever or are on painkillers. One of my happiest memories is of when I got my wisdom teeth out and watched the entire first season of The Sopranos on Percoset, pausing only to drift in and out of consciousness and eat soft food. Pure sensual bliss. I’m sure the expression on my face the entire time was like Kate Bush’s expression in this music video.

Okay, I think that’s all the thoughts I had during my vacation. Off I go to Mind Google up some more.

20 comments to Mind Google

  • Wendy

    I don’t have Mind Google, but I have Weedapedia, which is an encyclopedia of apocryphal things I’ve said during stoned conversations where I was convinced I was totally reasonable and stating the facts. Like: “Lightning bugs aren’t the same thing as fireflies, they flash differently.”

  • Coincidence! The best week of my life was when I had bronchitis a couple years ago and spent a week high on cough syrup, watching season two of Project Runway.

    “Aaaaandre. Andre. Where’s Andre?”

  • NA

    There’s a DIY karaoke game from India that’s pretty close to your car game. Except yours is more free-form, which I think is better and easier.

  • [...] Tags: asides, blogs, Emily Magazine, Google, mind google, social, technology I think that Mind Googling is a great idea. I’ve gone without internet for months because of traveling and/or connection [...]

  • emily

    @NA It’s fun to imagine knowing enough Bollywood songs that you could play that game at all. I agree that my game is better. :)

    @Wendy but was the WORD ‘weedapedia’ itself a highdea? Or also I like to call them “high concepts”

  • Cell Googling is so much more insidious on an iPhone because the voice-recognition component works so amazingly well. All you have to do it tap the app and say your search term and the results appear like magic. It’s really getting scarily like talking to the computer on Star Trek now. The good part is that I barely notice my own memory loss any more, because I never have to remember ANYTHING!

  • mnm

    I just successfully used mind google. I was reading this and was like, “Fuck, what did I want to tell Emily about?” and then a few minutes later mind google was all, “Your horoscope and energy healing.” (I mean, obviously.) I filed it away for future discussions.

    PS: Hi!

  • Wendy

    It was, sort of. Because I kept wanting to look things up online because I was CONVINCED of their veracity but out I was in the middle of the woods. After a long while it occurred to me that I didn’t need a reference database because I WAS one.

  • You had a vacation that hit Mexico and Morocco? That’s a roundabout trip. Morocco is a great. Until you get the squirts. Then it’s still pretty fun.

  • María José

    hey! ive been reading you on and off for a while now… are you gonig to write about mexico? wich part did you visit? im mexican (mérida yucatán, close to chichen itzá and cancún) and im just curious to read what you thought.

    anyways, i’ve been playing the car version of google mind since i was like 10. not in a car, though. In my version (no idea who invented it so i might as well take credit!) you put something (ideally a microphone but it could be anything) in the center of a table and say a word. The first person who grabs the mirophone sings a song with the word and then says another word… and so it goes.

    it is fun because sometimes you just grab the microphone but have no idea what to sing.

    wow that was long, sorry!

  • so it’s wrong to twitter song lyrics? what about unattributed quotes from things you are reading?
    not that either?
    i knew i wasn’t doing it right. :(
    ps come back!!!!!

  • Rebecca A.

    Mind google, huh? And all this time I thought I was just getting old…Turns out if I had a blog I could’ve scooped you years ago…

    Okay, you most likely won’t answer this, but which “Summer Nights” are you talking about? All I can think of, quite honestly, is the song from “Greece” and that actually, is not from MY generation even because it was popular when I was in 4th grade!

  • I feel the same way about twitter but for some reason I keep doing it. I’m bad at it. I have friends who can barely write emails that are masters of twitter. I keep thinking it’ll teach me to write with brevity, instead it’s teaching me how to abbreviate like a 12-year-old on a text message.

  • Reading this post + lots of coffee = this post.

  • Thanks for the comment love! Check out her adorable goofy “Well I got something to tell you” at 3:15. I’m a full lesbo for a sec.

  • [...] « list of ten favorites mind google January 21, 2009 I learned a great new term today: Mind Google. It’s when you need to recall something but you don’t have a [...]

  • Tim

    I was trying to get my brother to play the What If? game recently on the way from Grand Central station to Croton on the Metro North but he wasn’t going for it. In case you don’t know what the What If? game is, somebody starts out saying something ridiculously funny to someone like, “What if I stole all your money, blew up your house and deleted your name from all the computer databases in the world.” The person who this is directed at might say, “I’d cry” or, “I’d take a chainsaw and cut your arms and legs off.” Then that person is supposed to throw one back at the first person by saying something like, “What if I wasn’t your brother/friend/lover but I was actually a robot and I took off my faceplate right now to prove it.” And on and on it goes. The What If? game can easily turn any long, tedius car, train or plane ride into a lightening speed journey.

    I’m disappointed that my brother wouldn’t play with me on the train. I came up with some good what-if questions like, “What if you looked away and looked back really quickly and I suddenly sprouted a big grey Santa beard?” and, “What if that skyscraper over there farted and it sounded like a foghorn?” My brother just stared at me each time I asked him a ridiculous question as if to say “I’m not playing that immature game with you.” Then he pretended to slice my limbs off one by one with an invisible samurai sword. He subsequently mimicked throwing each body part out the window into the dusky, chilly evening.

    Other people sitting near us on the train must have thought we were mentally retarded 30 year olds who had just been released from Bellevue Hospital. They must have either felt embarassed for us or else they were extremely confused by our weird behavior which was so out of character with our normal-seeming appearances.

  • [...] but he’s about 50 or 60 in real life, so that premise doesn’t work well. (That was a mind google, but I just checked Wikipedia, and he’s [...]

  • @María José: Sometime it also happens that you sing a song about the word but then you have no clue of the word.

    Tell me about it!

    @Tim -> I am giving my thanks, you made my 29 hours day (i m just gonna hit the bed, but i m gonna remmeber your “what if” game – i m gonna play with my friends and enjoy craZZiest imagination trip to fantasia with lots of laughs, giggles n naughty but innocent kids)

    try the new Google BuZZ!

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