A brief demonstration of how the sherlocking thing does not have an off switch:

I ran into these photos a few days ago.


[It's Noel Fielding again, behind the scenes working on Luxury Comedy, from the site at e4.com, but that's irrelevant for this particular demo.]

Mog had found a different photo from the same stream posted to tumblr, and linked me to it; I did what I always do and pitched it through TinEye and GRIS to see if I could find any more from the same session. Now, I asked Mog what about these things got her attention, and it was more or less that the pictures were nice to look at -- she likes watching people when they're busy arting, and she likes him, and the snapshots came out nicely in the purely technical sense of not being underlit or out of focus or featuring any part of the photographer's thumb. Moggie, it should be noted, babysits a lot of university servers for a living, with a degree in anthropology and a background in theater tech; you will probably be unsurprised to hear that backstage photos, especially of things being constructed for a show, basically make her asplode with joy. It's a picture, holistically, to her, of someone interesting doing something interesting, in a place which is probably also interesting.

I am perfectly capable of looking at the things at the "photo" level of granularity, but it's not what my brain does first. Tableaux to me are not solid things that can be carved up into salient points, but more a sort of mosaic of details: They are many pieces, but at the same time just one representation. I suspect I may also notice stuff in a different order than other people do; native English speakers have been trained from reading-time onward to notice things from upper left to lower right in horizontal stripes, absent any other cues, and I don't always.

I'm appallingly bad at forcing my noticing-things process into any kind of order. Here goes nothing.
  1. Right-handed.
  2. I recognize that painting. (It's a set piece from Luxury Comedy. From one of the first two, can't recall which. It's in a segment that also involves Fielding wearing a bright canary yellow jumpsuit whose least attention-grabbing feature is that he has painted I <3 ART on the back.)
  3. Colors that bright are probably acrylic.
  4. Yeah, it must be acrylic. He's got his hair loose. Oils and latex are a bitch to get out of hair. Acrylic rinses out of hair if wet, peels off if dry.
  5. Right pic, big block of grass green in the background is a digital greenscreen. (FX work used to use bluescreens, electric blue being just about the farthest you could get from the color of human skin, but for [nerdy tech reasons] greenscreens are usually used for doing digital rotoscoping work. A huge amount of Luxury Comedy is essentially done in digital rotoscoping.) This thing is propped up in the LuxCom studio.
  6. He is spattered with colors again.
  7. There is a lot of paint on that smock.
  8. There is a lot of paint under his right elbow.
  9. How the fuck do you get paint under your elbow?
  10. ...while avoiding paint splatters on most of the rest of the shirt?
  11. He'd have to flip the brush under his arm and drag it across his smock.
  12. He can't be testing colors there, he can't see that easily. If he wanted to see it, he'd be painting his front shirttails.
  13. Oh. He's scrubbing the brushes off on his shirt, is what that is.
  14. Left pic, there are some marks on his other side, too.
  15. The brush smudges on his left are all white.
  16. He must have one brush loaded with titanium white and is trying not to contaminate it with the other colors, because god knows you will never get all that out. (Think trying to bleach a dress shirt back to white after you've accidentally washed it with something cherry red.)
  17. ...
and so on and so forth, basically for as long as I care to stare at it. I can't not see the stream of details any more than I can not read the words if I'm watching a movie and subtitles or closed captions are on, although right as I typed that it occurred to me that this may also be a weird behavior, so possibly never mind. (It's not technically a compulsion, as nothing awful will happen if I miss them; I'm just primed to read things. I seriously spent the first twenty minutes of The Grudge reading all the Japanese signs in the background and ignoring Sarah Michelle Gellar. I got chucked into the gifted and talented program in the first place, ca. age four, when the psychologist they had doing my interview caught me reading her notes off the legal pad, in cursive and upside down.) That's a photo with no immediate context, although it does have a lot of second-order context in my brain -- stuff that's one step away, like where the photos are from and what the set pieces are for and the various ways in which hair and paint interact.

Occasionally I get a photo with a couple of moments on either side of it. This one on the left is from the Never Mind The Buzzcocks Twitter feed. It's a pretty random snapshot from taping, as most of them are, but it did make me smile. Ayoade is usually the exact opposite of touchy-feely, but there are a couple of shots on either side of this one that make it apparent that he and Fielding were already having a conversation when the shot was taken -- the tap on the arm is not necessary to get his attention, it's just for communication. Ayoade does it to very few other people; the only other one I can bring to mind right now is Chris O'Dowd, usually when both of them are corpsing.

Overall, I quite enjoy being able to read the subtitles on people. If I run into someone else who's good at it too, we can juggle two or three "conversations" at once, which is a very fun game. On the other hand, there is also nothing I can do to stop the data from coming in, which occasionally makes things very difficult to watch. The metaphorical subtitles are often both spoilerrfic and horrifyingly genre-savvy, IRL, and there have been times when I've seriously had to say to people, "I cannot be around you for a while because this is all going to go horribly wrong Real Soon Now. I know you don't believe me, but please call me when the train wreck has finished happening and I'll help you clean it up." I don't even want to contemplate any of the contenders for the title of Worst Thing I've Ever Spotted, but one of my more recent speed records is from last year, and was something like three hours from him saying, "Let me tell you about this girl I met on OKCupid, she's awesome," to me going, "Are you sure she likes boys?" to her IMing him to let him down nicely. I'd never even clapped eyes on her, and still haven't.

I would change my name to Cassandra, but fuck it. I've already got business cards and I don't feel like reprinting them.

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