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:iconyasbp: More from yasbp





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December 5, 2011
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A few months ago I had some time off work, and a friend of mine suggested I visit 32314. I spent the following 3 weeks there, which proved to be a very interesting experience.

Somewhere between the bridge house and the hotel, a child leaped upon my back and started pummeling my shoulders violently. Fearing for my life and wallet, I tossed the parasite against a wall, much to the disgust of the passers-by. The child then flared his teeth in a way which my translator interpreted as "biscuits", though I'm sure he meant something more profane. Needless to say, it wasn't the best start to a holiday.

Upon entering the hotel I was greeted by another of the large worms, who extended a tendril in some sort of gestural greeting. He kept his tendril extended for quite some time, after which I realized I was probably meant to reciprocate the gesture, so I stuck my hand out too. He then grasped my wrist and started caressing my hand with his tendrils for another extended period of time, after which I asked him to stop. He stared at me in a fashion I could only assume to be confused, and asked what he was meant to be stopping. "Stop touching me" I said, in the simplest way possible. The creature then apologized, and after an equally confusing monetary exchange, I was given the key to my room. However, "key" and "room" are subjective terms. The key in question was more of a necklace. One can wander in and out of a room as he so pleases, but you need to use the key to use any facilities within the room. The room was an open area, like a garden, with the occasional covered pathway in case of rain or other unfortunate weather. The room was shared with many others; private rooms cost much more than I was willing to pay. Besides, what purpose is there to an exotic vacation if you don't interact with the locals?

As I walked in the room I was quickly and enthusiastically greeted by my roommates. One of them had never seen an alien before, and most of them had never seen one of my race, so I was quite the distinguished guest. I spent the rest of the day telling them stories, which they were very interested in. After that it was time for sleep phase 3. The day on 32314 is incredibly long, so the inhabitants split it up into four phases, each starting with an hour-long rest. In the morning, which was in fact late afternoon, we set off for the market.

The young one, the one who had not seen an alien before, was eager to show me all the good things about his planet. He frequently offered me food (luckily of the same chiralities) and manuscripts, though most puzzling was that he kept shoving me in chairs. In fact, it wasn't just him, everywhere I went, people kept shoving me in massage chairs. Don't get me wrong, massage chairs are comfortable and all, but the people of this planet had an oddly extreme fascination with them. It seemed everywhere you went, people were selling massage chairs.

Perhaps more bizarre than their affinity for massage chairs was the specificity by which they differentiated between them. There were ones you sat upright on, ones you reclined on, ones you sat on your side on, ones you lay down face-first on, ones you leaned forward on, ones that encased your body like a coffin, ones that you hung upside-down on, portable ones incorporated into clothing, et cetera. But the manner of sitting was just one minor facet in the grand sea of qualities by which a massage chair can be judged. Are the legs or arms included? Sometimes there are separately sold ottomans so as to modify chairs otherwise lacking in such accommodations. The material it's made of is obviously an important issue, though the variety of animal skins it can be made of is seemingly infinite. Additionally, there may be no animal skin or cushioning or covering at all, rather the seat being a skeletal model composed of many moving cogs on which the user directly rests. The cogs themselves can then be made of wood, metal, bones, plants, plastic, tiny independent cushions, and so on. And then there's the manner of executing programs. Most chairs have a little panel connected to them, which is used to change the program. Others, typically old-fashioned or homemade models, can only carry out one program. Then there are some that you have to control by repeatedly pressing buttons, with the chair only acting as a proxy to convert your hand movements into a massage. Some are powered by spinning a crank. An individual may own several of these chairs, simply so he can rotate between them depending on his mood.

Speaking of the programs, they are equally attentive to the way in which the massage is carried out, that is to say that, depending on the feel of the massage, different emotions can be inferred. What I found ridiculous about this was the fact that the worms seemed to think there was something deeper. They would frequently discuss how "philosophical" or "metaphysical" their favorite programs were, though when asked exactly what sort of philosophical insight their programs were inciting, they could rarely come up with a legitimate answer. There were some programs written with linguistic accompaniment, though upon scrolling through the lyrics I found few with anything of worth to say. Most were the immature wails of failed lovers, while the rest seemed nonsensical attempts at abstraction. The way I see it, the massages are simply meant for pleasure, but people aren't comfortable with that. They feel like there needs to be meaning, otherwise it's pointless. To be honest, I don't see anything wrong with a massage that's simply a massage. A simple massage can help emphasize feelings more explicitly conveyed through other means. The problem with this is that a good massage can make people believe whatever words accompany it.

However, I wouldn't suggest you tell the worms such things if I were you. They hold massages in a sacred light, and in fact find all other races to be ignorant and artistically underdeveloped due to their lack of focus in the massage chair industry.

Otherwise not much happened. I do however feel my muscles are much more at ease than before. I would certainly suggest you visit if you have the time.
Not very sciency, I know, simply pointing out the things I hate about people who think they're artistic, and how I hate how people think artforms will be universal across the cosmos. I feel like designing these worms now.

Not necessarily set in the yasbp universe, though if it is, it's set in the way distant future. Hence why the planet's name is a random number in base 5 equating to roughly 2000 in base 10. That means it's like the 2000th inhabited planet discovered by some galactic empire that apparently counts in base 5. Also, I think I mention hours as a unit of time at one point, but of course human measurements are outdated by now, so that's just an approximate used in translation into English.
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:iconamnioticoef:
AmnioticOef Featured By Owner Dec 20, 2011
Ignoring the allegorical message here (aka, missing the point :D), I've always found it strange that we humans have an art form for every major sense category except touch.

Think about it:

Sight--pictures, movies

Hearing--music, spoken word

Taste--fine cooking

Smell--perfumery

Touch--nothing.

What's up with that?
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:iconyasbp:
yasbp Featured By Owner Dec 20, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
I'd say the closest thing is knitting or something else to do with constructing comfortable cloth. And perfumery, pfft, I'd hardly call it an art, but that gets into the whole question of what art is and yada yada yada.

I'd like to see how thermally-sensitive organisms would make art. Firedancing would be common, and perhaps intricate rube-goldburg devices laced with pyrotechnics, and probably ice too so as to create contrast. I wonder how electroreceptive creatures would make art in the earlier stages of societal development.
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:iconamnioticoef:
AmnioticOef Featured By Owner Dec 20, 2011
Hmm, maybe "craft" is more appropriate.

Great ideas! Electrosense creatures might create something like song or poetry by varying the electrical impulses they send out. Interesting patterns of bumps and ridges might also be a form of electroreceptive art.
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:iconparasky:
Parasky Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Seems to me like these massages are paramount to music with the worms.
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:iconyasbp:
yasbp Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
You hit the nail right on the head. People's adherence to the belief that music holds some sort of superior metaphysical value beyond that of comfort brought about by the pleasure of the subconscious recognition of patterns in syncopation and complimentary frequencies was the main prompt for this. Not sure if I was too obvious or not obvious enough on the polemic.
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:iconparasky:
Parasky Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
No, no, that was all quite obvious. While I was reading this I was thinking of Gorillaz. I love their music, but I have to admit that a lot of the lyrics in a lot of their songs make only some semblance of sense (I can't honestly say they make absolutely no sense, but then again they're not blatantly obvious with their meaning either). But it doesn't have to make sense for me to enjoy it.
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:iconbensen-daniel:
bensen-daniel Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2011
Lovely! It has the ring of truth to it. "Everyone here is obsessed with XYZ. I assumed I would learn to appreciate the hidden value of XYZ, but upon closer inspection, it's still nothing more than goddam XYZ!"

You forgot to mention the massage chair comedies, where people reference a program suited for an upright chair as if it was for a supine chair. Oh, how droll.

I like the way you talk about "children" and "people." Which makes everything much more real and immediate.
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:iconyasbp:
yasbp Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
And then there's the infinite number of youtube parodies of famous programs. It's funny because the witty observations are emphasized by the fact that the final facial expressions displayed in each word are complimentary to each other. Who doesn't love self-similarity?
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