Ultraq's Final MooCow

Bits and pieces by Emanuel Rabina

Panda An Hour

My guitar buddy introduced me to this concept of 'love languages'. While the main Google hit is a page about 'the 5 love languages' what it basically comes down to is the idea that each of us has a certain way in which our affections can be won over and which we show affection ourselves. ie: some of us really like giving gifts as a way to show we care, and those same people might really respond to receiving gifts more than, say, complimenting them.

It's not a new idea - I'm sure we've all observed that some things will really get through to people and other things won't - and it goes a bit of a way to explain why some people can get along and others don't.

Personally, I'm a 'quality time' person (if you hit the Google link above and go to the first link which categorizes said languages) which I think a bit odd considering I have so much free time to myself (or maybe that actually explains why I look so forward to seeing my friends and going to whatever events they have). For another 'Octoberite' though, whose birthday was just last week, they seem to be especially fond of something that isn't really pigeonholed by any of the standard categories on that site: they really like receiving links to sites on the internet of cute animals doing cute things.

Super-cute deer
Exhibit A

Coupled with my Spidey-sense like ability to know when someone's birthday is (my friend didn't have their birthday listed on Facebook), I sat down at lunch one day and came up with ideas for their birthday present. Mid-way through my open chicken sandwich w/ fries, I invented "Panda An hour".

Panda An Hour was the name I gave to the initial idea of posting to their Facebook wall a link to a photo/video of a red panda (I really like red pandas, as my About pic should leave no doubts about) every hour of their birthday, for as long as I was awake. The idea went to include other animals because I don't really have that much red panda material.

(Actually, yes I do have that much red panda material, but most of it comes from the red panda encounter I did last year.)

Red panda sleeping
Exhibit B

So I did my homework, and the day before her birthday I began compiling a list of photos and videos to use, starting with those in my own 'collection' of cute animal pics/videos, and slowly branched-out from there. I kept this up for several hours until I was up to my eyeballs (ie: 20+ tabs in Firefox) in cute animal material. I could feel my testosterone levels dropping as I brought up and bookmarked video after video, and picture after picture, compiling enough material to see me through the 16 or so hours I would be spamming her wall.

After finalizing the list of links, I went to sleep with doubts. Wall spamming isn't exactly the best thing you can do to someone, and with the internet just so full of stuff, we've even got videos and songs not-so-kindly asking people to lay-off the forwarding of stuff.

But when I get an idea in my head, I stubbornly follow it through, and this was one of those ideas. It's worked-out in the past... maybe 66% of the time. The other 33% have had me actually fall out of favour with people because of it because it can be read as very forthcoming, and in a very recent case I've somewhat frightened someone to the point of not talking with me for several months.

So I slept restlessly that night, only to be awoken by the alarm on both my cellphone and clock radio after what felt like mere minutes of sleep. After turning off both alarms, and even before eating breakfast, I turned on my computer and began the panda attack.

Exhibit C

It was very likely to have been my least productive working day in a long time. I kept such a close eye on the lower-right corner of my computer screen, eyes glued to the minutes as they passed by, signalling the end of an hour and the beginning of a new one. When a new hour rolled-around, I double-checked my next choice of photo/video, even trawling for new ones if I second-guessed my initial choice. By the time I posted the next photo/video, I was maybe 30 minutes away until the next hour.

I also had a very brief lunch hour that day.

In short, it went down really well: I got a lot of good comments and I wasn't defriended before the day was over :) My own wall had the unfortunate side-effect of showing nothing but 'Emanuel Rabina posted a link on someone's wall...' activity, but I felt really good at the end of it.

Giving gifts has always made me feel good, and I've never really tried giving URLs as gifts before. In an age when we play-down the value of things like e-cards and generic e-mails, I wasn't really sure links would have a very high value, but it felt like I gave a little bit of me with every link I posted, much like how I'd feel when I give a real-life gift. Maybe it was the effort of spending my evening and half my working day tailoring those links for a specific person, and now that I wrote that, I feel like I've tread this ground before.

So maybe when that love languages site says 'quality time' is my love language, it doesn't just mean spending time is what speaks to me, but also that putting time into something can really grab my attention. It's certainly worked before :)