Second Iteration

Second Iteration

“With subsequent drawings of the fractal curve, sudden changes may appear.”

-Ian Malcolm

Continuous and inherently unpredictable changes will arise in any complex system; so Crichton’s fictional chaos expert continually insists. While the actual science of the matter is much more complicated, this makes for a useful signpost while watching Jurassic Park every week for a year. Without going into details, life threw me a bit of a curve-ball in February, and much of March was spent putting my day-to-day life back in order. The unexpected had arisen, and while not a cause, Jurassic Park‘s prominent presence in my life was unquestionably a factor in my reactions and responses. Having been shaken up, and in the process of settling back down, is it possible that Jurassic Park will have a major effect on where I land?


With Jurassic Park taking a backseat in my list of life priorities, and given my current inability to focus on anything in particular for a large amount of time, it is not surprising that all of my viewings were pushed back to Saturday.


I had many dreams in March, a sign that I was not sleeping as soundly as I usually do. Most of them are completely irrelevant, but one pertains to Jurassic Park. I was on a catamaran owned and operated by one John Hammond. He was giving a tour of something unrelated to dinosaurs. I was seated next to Dr. Ellie Sattler, and we started flirting. I’m not sure if Grant was around to jealously see it, but I am sure that I got to second base. I have no idea what this might signify.


“It signifies that you’ve got the hots for Laura Dern. Do I have to spell it out for you?”


With March came income tax refunds, and with refunds came some purchases. Wouldn’t you know it, several of those purchases were related to Jurassic Park.


Reading and shaving.

The relevance of Chaos and The Origin of Species to Jurassic Park should be obvious. Heinz Pagels’s The Dreams of Reason is perhaps less so. For those not in the know, Mr. Pagels is credited by Crichton as partially inspiring the character of Ian Malcolm, so I thought it might be interesting to take a little peek at some of his work. The Barbasol can is just that. There is absolutely no chance that it has a hidden compartment. I repeat, it is not secretly a safe.


I took the time to re-read Jurassic Park this month, and while I’ve read the book several times previously, thanks to my high exposure to the film this year, this experience was different. For certain characters, it was hard for me to get the actors from the movie out of my head while reading. Grant will always be  Sam Neill to me now, even though his counterpart in the book loves kids and sports a beard. The same goes for Sattler, Muldoon, Malcolm, Tim, Nedry, and Arnold (I associate them with their respective actors, that is; they don’t love kids and sport beards). The book versions of Gennaro, Hammond, Lex, Wu, and Harding get their own distinct appearances in my mind’s eye, probably because they pose a contrast to their cinematic doubles.


Jurassic Park and High Fidelity are in my brain now. I don’t think they’re ever coming out. When watching an episode of Breaking Bad near the end of the month, the phrase “sparing no expense” pulled me right out of the episode. An episode of Freaks and Geeks titled “Beers and Weirs” made me think about Stephen Frears. While watching The Lake House I saw a familiar locale…

Green Mill Lake House

It’s a Chicago bar called The Green Mill. You know who else drinks there?

deleted worst

Bonus points if you knew that this screenshot is from a deleted scene.

The worst bit is, I recognized the bar from the interior alone, well before the marquee even came on screen.


Setting aside an occasional dream or a conscious choice to buy some Jurassic Park-related books, it may seem as though my increased exposure to the film is not having a profound effect upon my life. This month, however, I think that it has been a factor in a major shift in the way I approach and view the world.

When I was a child, I had a very dogmatic view of the world. Things were the way they were, because that was how it was ordained for them to be. As I grew older and went to college, I started looking at the world as a narrative. One plot point leads to the next. Those elements that are left unexplained, aren’t important to the story at this time, and can be ignored. Over the course of March, I became aware of a shift away from that narrative manner of thinking.

Watching Jurassic Park every week has put such things as chaos theory and evolution at the front of my mind, and while the movie does a horrendous job of representing these sciences, it has gotten me thinking.


Not science.

I have been rethinking the way I view the world around me. If something can be explained, we should seek out the reason for it. If something seems unexplainable, the reason for it has probably just not been discovered yet. We know so little about the way our universe works, yet compared to our knowledge a century (or even a decade) ago, we know so much. A lack of understanding is no excuse for writing something off as unknowable, or unimportant.

It’s impossible to say whether or not this is the beginning of a paradigm shift for me, a fundamental shift in my world view. It’s just as possible that in a few weeks, this all will prove to just have been a bump in the road. In any event, it’s a fair representation of how things feel at the end of March 2013, and it’s directly related to my repeated viewings of Jurassic Park.