Stock photos are a collection of photographs that are often used by companies who are too damn cheap to hire a photographer. Some you have to pay to use and some are offered “royalty free”, meaning you don’t have to pay for them at all. They are often produced in studios using models and they usually depict blatant stereotypes and they are almost ALWAYS fucking LAME. Now, with that being said I actually work online for a living and I have to say I see these things on a constant basis. Here are some of the more common ones you’ll run into.
The Customer Service Agent
I’m going to start with the old cliché “Customer Service” agent stock photos. Let’s take a look at this picture up there and point out a few things. First, this lady could NOT be a Customer Service Rep because she is entirely too fucking happy. When was the last time you came across a friendly, polite, CSR with a smile so big you could hear it over the phone? Chances are you can’t remember. I have been in the Customer Service industry for upwards of 11 years including being on the phones in a call center, managing a call center, Training and Development, Support… If someone is this happy on the phone chances are they are brand fucking new or today is their last day.
Also, her complexion is ALL WRONG. She isn’t pasty from lack of being in the sun due to working long hours INSIDE, has no visible acne, her teeth are fucking WHITE (which is impossible because coffee is the LIFE BLOOD of any call center and we all know what wonders that does for the color of your teeth). I would also GUARANTEE that she has perfect fucking posture.
Let me just point something else out here. Why the hell do all of those “Customer Service” stock photos depict the person holding the ear piece or mouth piece? For example, this:
And the fuck this:
It’s wrong. NO ONE HOLDS THEIR PHONE LIKE THIS. NO ONE. Please stock photo creators, STOP DOING THIS.
The Successful Business Team
Ah, yes. Go to most any corporate or business website and you will see the old “Business Team” stock photo. This photo is supposed to depict a team of professionals who are successful, depict joy at knowing they are successful, and are in some cases attractive. Now, I don’t know what company was used to “cast” the above picture but when they put the ad out for casting it more than likely included the words “blonde” and “white”. In addition, I would not feel comfortable shaking that woman’s hand with that look on her face. That look, coupled with all of the smiling folks there in the background, makes me feel like if I did shake her hand, I would be forfeiting my soul.
Back to subject of racial diversity:
This isn’t “ethnically diverse” per se, but it IS the complete other end of the spectrum. This dude looks like a tech savvy pimp displaying his “stable of hoes” (notice he even has a “mangina” in his stable) to a potential customer via his laptop. Successful business team indeed. Ahem, let’s move on.
WHO casted for this one? Because they need to be fired. It’s diverse in both ethnicity AND age but I’ve seen more effort put into a “GO TEAM” hand stack at a quadriplegic baseball game. And what the fuck is up with the Ron Burgundy/Cotton Eyed Joe hybrid in the back there? That dude is looking at BOTH ladies AND the camera AT THE SAME TIME. Again, moving on:
Here we have the “You Just Got Knocked The Fuck Out” business team. You want to join their team? A beatin’ is the only way in. And finally:
This is probably the most accurate “business team” photo EVER.
The Handshake is usually used to indicate some sort of deal has been made. You got a job, you closed a business deal, made a sale… whatever. Some important shit went down, and it was concluded with a firm handshake. There are many variations on it:
The “Thank You For Your Soul”. And:
The “Soloist”. And there’s also:
The “Socially Awkward Guys” handshake. This is probably the most awkward handshake that has ever occurred. I feel awkward looking at this. And dude on the left looks like he has a perspiration problem and smells, and guy on the right is trying to keep his distance. Finally, we have:
The “Nordic Elven She-Demon”. This picture is terrifying. DO NOT LOOK HER IN THE EYES!
As you can see, no matter what form the “Handshake” photo takes, you know some important shit just went down.
The Thumbs Up
The “Thumbs Up” is another commonly used stock photo to indicate, as Borat would say, SUCCESS! It also comes in many different lame varieties.
The “Two Gun Kid”. There’s:
The “Holy FUCK That Dude Is Creepy” thumbs up. Also see:
The “Vegetation Agrees” thumbs up. Finally:
The “You Just Got Knocked The Fuck Out” thumbs up. Which confirms how knocked out you were even more so than the “Successful Business Team” stock photo.
This isn’t currently, but should from here on out be, the DEFAULT stock photo for Pauly D. I’ll end this posting on that note.
You know… Sometimes, shit happens. One day you’re cooling out, doing your thing, you know… Riding your bike. Playing World of War Craft. Drinking some beer. Surfing gigantic waves. Cooking up some meth. Doing whatever the hell it is you do, and then, shit goes horribly wrong. You wake up thinking you are a zombie and can literally SMELL your flesh rotting from your body. In addition, fuck your left arm because it doesn’t need to be there, and also because you just discovered that you have a third arm that you never knew about anyway. Your best friend really isn’t your best friend. Sure, he looks, sounds and smells like him, but it’s a double posing as him. Yes, my friend, welcome to the world of crazy fuck mental illnesses.
What it is:
Plainly put, Apotemnophilia is a neurological disorder in which a normal and otherwise sane person has an extreme desire to cut off a perfectly healthy limb or limbs. First described and named by psychologist Gregg Furth and sexologist John Money in 1977, these people think “Why do I have this left arm? Left arms are ugly!” and seek to have said limb removed, often times injuring the fuck out of it to FORCE amputation. Patients of Apotemnophilia are usually patients of Body Integrity Identity Disorder (BIID) because they aren’t satisfied with specific parts of their body and they want it cut the fuck off or otherwise removed A.S.A.P. Also, these people get off on the idea of having their limbs removed. Hey, whatever rocks your socks.
Oh, and apparently there are three types of people obsessed with having their limbs removed:
- “Pretenders” are perfectly (physically) healthy people who use wheelchairs, crutches and other miscellaneous devices to make people think they are disabled. They want you to tell them “Oh your leg is bad? Fuck that, just cut it off!!” It’s an ironic kind of guilt “trip”. Get it? Trip? Because you need legs and these people don’t want them? HA HA HA… oooh, boy. Let’s move on.
- “Devotees” are sexually attracted to people with amputations. This is also a mental illness called “Acrotomophilia”. Acrotomophilia is often a counterpart to Apotemnophilia as they go hand and hand. Get it? Hand in hand? Because they don’t like hands? HA! Well, anyway an interesting fact about Acrotomophiliacs is that these people were actually surveyed and apparently they prefer leg amputations over arm amputations, they dig amputations of a single limb, over both, and amputations that left a stump, were more “in” than those that left no stump. (Solvang, P. (2007). The amputee body desired: Beauty destabilized? Disability re-valued? Sex and Disability, 25, 51–64.) There’s a million different directions that I can go with that, so I’m going to move on.
- “Wannabes”, the most attention whore-ish group of the bunch, LIVE to have their limbs amputated. Basically, the “Wiggers” of the Apotemnophilia community.
Symptoms are severe depression with social withdrawal and intentionally injuring your limbs. Capgras sufferers will also do thing like purposely introducing infection to the limb, all in an effort to get that shit removed.
What Causes it:
There are no known direct causes of apotemnophilia. However, recent medical research has shown that apotemnophilia has been linked to abnormalities in the prefrontal cortex. Apotemnophiles have shown traits for the desire for amputation at a young age.
8. Capgras Delusion
What it is:
Capgras Delusion is named after Joseph Capgras, a French psychiatrist who first described this disorder in 1923. Basically, people with this disorder have the impression that the people very close to them, such as spouses, family, friends, etc. have been replaced by exact replicas of the person. Everyone they know is an imposter. These people have an otherwise clean bill of health, except… for the fact… that they think their friends and family are exact duplicates. And in some cases they even believe they themselves are duplicates, even after seeing themselves in a mirror. In fact, it can be so bad that one capgras sufferer, a married woman, flew into a jealous rage every time she saw herself in a mirror. She actually believed that the woman in the mirror was “another woman” who was trying to steal her husband. Crazy fuck that she was, her husband eventually had to cover every reflective surface in the house to keep her from trying to whoop her reflection’s ass.
In some cases, sufferers of Capgras see duplicate objects rather than duplicate people. One patient believed that his pet poodle had been replaced with an identical dog. Another believed that his shoes and many of his other personal possessions were being replaced with exact duplicates.
Pretty damn obvious:
- Belief that relatives and friends are imposters
What Causes It:
The exact cause of Capgras isn’t known and a method of treatment has not yet been developed. The only thing that IS certain is that there is a SEVERE breakdown in normal face perception. This is real life “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” shit.
7. Fregoli Delusion
What it is:
Alright, to get an idea what this is about, saaaay a friend invites you to birthday party. When you get there, GASP!, you find that everyone at the party is your friend in fucking disguise. And the REAL reason why were you invited? Well, isn’t it obvious?!? So that they can all murder you.
Fregoli Delusion, named after Leopoldi Fregoli, a stage actor known for his quick changes between scenes, is the opposite Capgras. Sufferers of Fregoli believe that everyone they know, and hell everyone else, are in fact the same person who simply changes their appearance or is in disguise. And the reason for this? This specific person is out to get them.
It was first described by Courbon and Fail in 1927 in a case study of, get this, a “coarse featured 27-year old single woman” who led a life of taking shit jobs, sleeping in hostels, and going to the theater. I’m not sure what “coarse featured means” but I’m guessing she had a shit ton of facial hair and/or acne scars. And she was probably pretty ugly. Anyway, she believed that two of the most famous actresses of the day, Robine and Sarah Bernhardt were following her around, disguising themselves (either by dressing to look like those people or actually entering their body to take them over) as other people and doing things like taking over her thoughts and making her do crazy shit, like masturbate. So from now on, if you’re ever caught “in the act”, just claim Fregoli and say (insert actor/actress name here) MADE you do it. Then look that person in the eye and finish like a boss.
Again, pretty freakin’ obvious:
- Deficit in self awareness
- Belief that everyone you see is someone else in disguise.
What Causes It:
- Levodopa Treatment – L-DOPA treatment, as it is usually called, is used to treat Parkinson’s Disease. After a shit ton of experiments, medical studies, fact finding missions and fucking with people in general, it was found that prolonged use of antiparkinsonian medications are a HUGE cause of Fregoli
- Traumatic brain injury
- Fusiform Gyrus
- Abnormal P300
Alien Hand Syndrome
What it is:
Take a look at your hands. Now, imagine one of your hands lifts itself up and starts choking the shit out of you. You have to have help prying your fingers open to release it’s grip on your neck. It’s possessed and has a mind of it’s own. You can feel it there on the end of your arm as though it’s yours, however, you have no control over what it does, you aren’t aware of what it’s doing and it does a whole bunch of shit it’s not supposed to do when it’s not supposed to do it.
Alien hand syndrome is a rare disorder in which one hand functions involuntarily, with the victim completely unaware of its action. It was first identified in 1909, though it wasn’t clearly defined until about 1972 It’s different than involuntary limb movement because the hand will perform actions with a purpose; whether it be a simple gasping motion, picking up a pen, unbuttoning your shirt, or slapping the ever loving shit out of your face.
Oh, but it gets better. There are actually a few different subtypes of alien hand syndrome that appear to be associated with specific brain injuries. For reference purposes, here’s a picture of the brain and it’s various lobes:
Damage to the corpus callosum, a wide, flat bundle of neural fibers that connect the two hemispheres of the brain, can give rise to “purposeful” actions to the alien hand. An individual who is left-hemisphere-dominant will experience the left hand becoming alien, the opposite for a right-hemisphere dominant person. I can also lead to a problem called “inter manual conflict” in which the person’s two hands seem to have opposing purposes, sort of like having dueling hands.
Injury to a person’s frontal lobe can cause reaching, grasping and other purposeful movements in the alien hand. In the case of anteromedial (located toward the front and in the middle) frontal lobe injury, movements are often exploratory reaching movements in which external objects such as tools and such are grasped and actually fucking used without the person even knowing they are doing it. Oh, and once the object is actually in the alien hand the patient usually can’t release the object, and literally has to peel the fingers of the hand back off of the object.
Parietal and occipital lobes
Damage to the parietal lobe and/or occipital lobe of the brain cause movements in the alien hand tend to withdraw the palm of the hand away from any sort of contact rather than reaching out to specifically grasp objects. The hand basically moves on it’s own to specifically AVOID contact with things in the palm of the hand and are usually less coordinated then movements shown in the frontal lobe variation of the syndrome. So forget about wishing this alien hand will give you it’s own version of “the stranger”.
Suffers of AHS can feel the hand and they know it’s there. They don’t want it cut off or anything, but they feel that their hand has a mind of it’s own and acts of it’s own free will, independent of their normal behavior. They feel that they have no control over the movements of the ‘alien’ hand and that the hand has the capability of acting autonomously.
What Causes It:
Well, if you read about the various different types of this syndrome then you know it’s usually caused by brain injuries.
(End of Pt. 1, bro. Hang out for part 2)
Here’s an interesting thought to ponder. Ever notice how when you hold direct eye contact with someone for too long you tend to get uncomfortable and have to look away, even if it’s just to break that contact and take a brief glance elsewhere? Why is that? It’s almost like a barrier in our unconscious minds (two very important words to remember) prevents us from holding that gaze, much like our instinctive fear of the dark, falling, reptiles, or accidentally coming across a homemade porn video made by our parents. There is something ingrained in our psyche that says “Whoa, relax with the eye contact for a sec or shit you can’t possibly understand, or handle, will happen”. I’ve wondered about why this is so for quite some time now. And now I have a theory.
We Are All Connected
First, lets get into a bit of quantum physics. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “we are all connected” and blew it off as some new age hippie garbage. But, in a very real sense it’s true. DNA has revealed that all life forms use the same mechanism for cell division and that all seven billion of us are equally connected to each other. RNA and DNA have been found all over space and is probably where life on Earth actually came from. We are all part of the universe. We may all share a universal “consciousness” and not even know it. I’m not a religious man, but this basically supports Genesis 1:27; “And God made man in his image, in the image of God he made him: male and female he made them.” We have consciousness and “God” IS consciousness; the universal, pre-existing consciousness that has always been and always will and works in the background to “observe” and keep “reality” moving. And we are part of it.
Think of it like pixels on a TV screen. Each individual pixel has it’s own coordinates on the screen, but EVERY PIXEL on that screen works in unison to create a BIGGER PICTURE.
The Observer Effect and Multiverses
There’s a ton of theories floating around quantum physics right now, some of the more notable ones being the “Observer Effect” (see the link “observe” above) and “Multiverse Theory”. The Observer Effect indicates that reality exists because we observe it. Nothing actually exists until someone or something observes it. The Observer Effect has been conducted successfully in laboratories and is demonstrated in one of the most famous mental exercises called “Schrödinger Cat“.
Physicist Erwin Schrödinger developed this little mental exercise in 1935. Basically, you stick a cat in a box and then put a vial of poison in there with it, along with a tiny bit of some radioactive substance and a Geiger counter. Attach a hammer to the Geiger counter and then seal that box up and leave it for an hour. If the Geiger counter detects that the radioactive substance is starting to decay, it triggers the hammer to smash the vial of poison, thus killing the cat. If it doesn’t, well then the cat still has all 9 lives intact. But how do you know if the cat is alive or dead? You don’t until you open that box and observe it. To further fuck with you, The Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics implies that while that cat is in the box, it is simultaneously alive and dead. It’s not until you open the box and observe it that you can determine which state the cat is in. This leads to Multiverse Theory.
Without getting too far into the mind fuck that is Multiverse Theory, it basically states that there are an infinite number of universes that overlap each other and, therefore, there are an infinite number of “you’s”. If there are an infinite number of “you’s” and “everyone else’s” then that means there is an infinite amount of consciousness floating around in infinite universes. The choices you make determine where you end up in the universe. Every time you make a decision about something, it is possible that you could have gone the other way, and according to quantum mechanics, you did go the other way, only in an alternative reality. Thus, every choice is a probable reality and becomes so, splitting our very existence up into an infinite number of realities.
Multiverse theory supports Quantum Superposition, another fundamental principle of quantum mechanics demonstrated by Schrodinger’s Cat. Quantum Superposition states that if it is possible for a physical system to be in some particular configuration, and if it is simultaneously possible for the system to be in a different configuration or configurations, (if is is possible that the cat is alive in that box and it is possible that the cat is dead in the box, or even mutilated in some fashion) then the system is in an indeterminate state that, when measured, gives results consistent with having been partly in each of the possible configurations (the state that the cat is in is not determined until you open that box and look at it, or measure it). Multiverse then goes further and says, when you open that box, at the quantum level, a new universe is created. In one, the cat is alive, in another the cat is dead.
To sum it all up: Nothing exists until we observe or measure it, and once we do, it exists in an infinite number of states in an infinite number of universes.
A black hole is a region of spacetime from which almost nothing (more on this in a few), not even light, can escape. The theory of general relativity indicates that a sufficiently compact mass will deform spacetime to form a black hole, i.e. when heavy stars collapse at the end of their life cycle. One of the defining characteristics of black holes is their event horizon. The event horizon is the point of no return for both matter and light. Once they pass that boundary they can only go inward towards the mass of the black hole, never to escape. The event horizon is called the event horizon because if an event occurs within the boundary, information from that event cannot reach an outside observer, making it impossible to determine if the event occurred at all. So, in a way, the event horizon is like the Vegas of the universe.
Your Eye and Consciousness
Now, go to a mirror and take a look at your eye. Notice anything? Look at your pupil. It’s essentially a black circular HOLE. That black hole takes in light from your environment, which enables you to see. Light is taken in by your eye and sent to your brain, (which, by the way, if you’ve ever seen a 3D map of the observable universe, it conveniently looks like a neural network, or in other words a brain) which translates that light into images. Light can’t escape your eye, so in a sense it’s a tiny black hole. Kind of spooky. You’ve got two little black holes floating around on your head.
So here’s where it get’s interesting. Here’s where everything sort of ties in together. Consciousness, oneness, observation, black holes, and reality. Try this experiment:
1. Find someone you are comfortable with. It can be anyone. A spouse, a sibling, a son or daugher, a friend, whoever.
2. Sit down directly in front of each other and make eye contact directly in each others right eye. Make sure you are both looking directly in each others right eye. This is essential.
3. After about a minute to a minute and a half or so you may start to feel uncomfortable and get that urge to look away for a second. That innate “fear” will kick in. You have to overcome this and maintain that eye contact. Try not to blink at all, and if you have to, try to keep it at a single blink. This is essential.
4. The result should only take about 3 minutes. And what happens I can’t describe to you here. It must be observed by you. You have to experience it to understand… But I will say you will understand what is meant by the phrase “we are all connected”.
Now, here’s what I mean by almost nothing can escape a black hole and if you are successful in the experiment you’ll most certainly understand. I believe there is one thing that can escape a black hole. Consciousness. That all powerful universal state of being. The thing that makes you who you are and me who I am and the universe(s) what it (they) are. Try the experiment above and feel free to post your results in the comments.