During my undergraduate days, I used to entertain a slew of side projects in my head that I wanted to attempt and/or accomplish had I ever found the time. Among that list was making a homemade railgun1, attempting to smith a sword/axe/sharp weapon and/or some plate armor2, and all kinds of random psychologically-related experiments. The psychologically-related experiments are not as menacing as one might expect; they were really more aimed at understanding how some people view things or themselves.

Among the psychologically-related experiments I was interested in was how people really viewed themselves in a physical nature. It was aimed really moreso at women3, although it could totally be applied to men as well4. My original conception of this experiment involved taking cast molds of people figures (front at back to generate the right proportions) from the neck down. With those negative casts, I could recreate a positive cast of the person’s original figure.

Once I would have accrued enough figures of relatively the same size/spectrum, I would present the person with their own figure amidst a selection of other similar figures to see if they could identify their own amongst the others. The point was to try to understand and/or present to the individual how the person viewed their self physically. It has always been awfully easy to criticize and view yourself in a negative light (especially if you’re looking right at it in a mirror). However, if you carry misconceptions (or don’t even fully recognize) about your own figure, then it could become easily apparent by having some difficulty identifying your own figure from the mix.

Holly shared an interest with me in attempting this endeavor, but we never got around to doing it for a veritable plethora of reasons5. I’m sure she might still entertain this thought if I brought it up to her, but at the present I simply would not have the time to devote to this project while I’m still finishing up my Ph.D. Maybe once I get around to do a post-doctoral position I would have the time to do this, but then I lack the cohort in crime to pull off this project with. The other problem with going this alone is similar to the issue seen with anyone/everyone jumping into the photography field, especially with those characters sometimes referred to as GWC’s. Having a female assisting in the project would at least take some (if not most) of the bias out of the thought that I would be similar to a GWC (just in a different medium).

I like to empower and/or enable my female friends by trying to push them past their personal flaws they’re examining and refocus them on their strengths, and this goes for both intellectual and physical attributes. I’ve got a small handful of friends who are overly concerned on their flaws due to weight gain, rejection, whatever, and they don’t take the time to stop and embrace their strengths enough. I always thought this would be a fascinating project to help them out with, and learn a little bit more about the way people think about themselves.

Some of my friends back during high school and college joked that I should have went into psychology. At times like this, it wouldn’t surprise me; I’ve always had a fascination for understanding what it is that makes people think one way, and why they think that way. At other times, I just stop and realize that tons of shit fascinates me, and I really want to learn about it all.

1I ran across a description on how someone could build their own railgun just using some neon lamp transformers and a handful of other parts. More or less, I just wanted to see if I could build something like that from scratch (and in the process understand how it works). The most destructive thing I would probably attempt to use it for would be eliminating obnoxious rodents from people’s farms, as I really would not feel comfortable firing off a railgun within city limits.
2A friend of mine during my latter college years and interim year before graduate school took up a fancy to blacksmithing and was looking for interested parties. I would have totally been game, although I’m not entirely sure if he ever got that project off the ground.
3The female spectrum seems more susceptible to concerns over physical aspects of their personal image., and with good reason with the way our society puts such pressure on women through different avenues.
4This would almost be more interesting of a situation than with the women, as men are typically thought to be less concerned with their physical looks, or if they are my assumption would be that they are concerned for a more direct, concise reason than the women might be.
5Among the largest was likely the time involved in attempting to do a project like this, followed by finding individuals that would have been willing to build up a repository of figure to work with, followed lastly by the space and room needed to cast, cure, and store all the molds that would be taken (not including the mess it would have created)!
6“Guy With Camera,” as explained to me by Mr. Dever just last weekend. I was familiar with the personality type, but I was unaware that the class of person had a name associated with it within the discipline. Actually, it was some of this discussion that reminded me of my old ambitions with this project, in combination with some recent discussion from another friend regarding some discomforts about recent steroid-induced changes to her figure.

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