I'm not the type of person who gets fascinated easily. My view of the natural world tends to lean toward the practical: a storm cloud means water for crops, a tree is something to piss behind if I'm not near a toilet, the sun is just a moon that God accidentally set on fire while drunk. But if you take even the most boring shit and view it in a time lapse video, suddenly it becomes awesome. That's when you realize that absolutely everything is in a state of frenzied, sometimes terrifying activity -- it's just happening on a different time scale.
Trust me, speeding things up will completely change your opinion of ...
Warning: Some of these can be a bit gross and graphic.
#8. Ants Eating
Warning: If swarms of insects make you feel all creepy-crawly, you'll probably want to skip this one. And maybe stop using phrases like "creepy-crawly," because it makes you sound like a child. A child who is a huge pussy and probably needs his ass spanked. If you're worried about seeing animal guts, don't be, because once the ants find the carcass, you won't see it again until it's nothing but bones:
That's a time lapse video of a dead gecko being completely devoured by a colony of ants in a matter of hours. And while even just the idea of that sounds kind of dark and fucked up, it doesn't do justice to the nightmare-inducing images of seeing it in full motion. Especially when those demonic little bastards swarm in and completely cover its body.
If you want to imagine a scenario even creepier, pretend there's no gecko under there.
Pardon me for a second, I have something I need to do real quick ... GAAAAAAH! MOTHERFUCKER! NO, FOR THE LOVE OF CHRIST, NO! I CAN FEEL THEM ON ME!
Sorry about that -- what were we talking about again? Oh yeah, the GAAAAAAH! FUCK, THAT'S DISGUSTING! FUUUUUUCK! Sorry, that was the last one. I think I'm good now.
Oh, yeah, the ants. It's not just the way they devour it so quickly. Around the 26-second mark, notice how the toes start to move around as the ants push and pull them into a better eating position. Then casually saw them off with their freakish, razor-sharp ant faces and carry them away. Little toes, disappearing in time lapse, one at a time, to feed to their bastard ant babies.
Watch the way the rest of the little lizard's body slowly moves as the flesh disappears. It almost looks like it's still alive under that writhing eating frenzy. But the end of the video is really what gets me. Even after it's been picked clean, right down to bleach-white bones, they still search for meat and tissue, going so far as to carry off some of the intact bones and moving the skull completely out of frame.
And not one of those assholes left a tip. But hey, at least it didn't happen on the sea floor. That's where the real nightmares take place.
#7. A Retired Dam
This is one of my favorite videos of all time, and why wouldn't it be? It's a dam being breached with a big, controlled explosion. Now, before you make this point, allow me to make it for you: Exploding dams are exactly the opposite of mundane. I totally understand that. But what is mundane is the several hours' worth of water draining out after that. Yes, for the first 15 minutes or so, I'm sure it's mesmerizing to watch tens of thousands of gallons of water shooting out of that thing like it's the end of the goddamn world. But after that? It's just a bunch of water shooting out in a seemingly endless stream. Like a good piss after your first six beers of the night.
That's not water coming out, by the way. That's dust and smoke from the initial blast.
THAT is the water.
However, the thing that's surprising is that the time lapse recording of the "boring" stuff turned out to be the most interesting part of the whole video. It's watching that lake drain out into a free-flowing river. Seriously, watch the water behind that dam go from this:
It's incredible to see that perfectly serene body of water turn into a soupy, turdy mess that collapses in on itself. Just when you think you're looking at somewhat solid ground, the whole bed breaks loose and flows like a river of shit, and you realize that it's still like 80 percent water. That if you tried to walk on that thing, you'd be sucked down to an inescapable death.
Could you imagine being a fish caught in all of that chaos? Words couldn't adequately express the level of "WHAT THE FUCK?!" that went through your mind as you were ripped from your home and shot a thousand feet from where you were just innocently swimming and enjoying being a stupid fish. "This sure is awesome. I love the fact that I don't have to worry about much because my limited intelligence as a fish prevents me from having to d- OH JESUS CHRIST, WHAT DID I DO?!"
This is a video that, judging by the incredibly stupid hair, appears to be the 1980s or early '90s. Or possibly from last month. It's an 11-year-old girl who had some fairly bad teeth problems, along the lines that they looked to be assembled by drunken gnomes. Or maybe she was the spawn of the Rock Biter from The NeverEnding Story.
"Mom, we need to get to the dentist. Bruce Campbell just tried to fight me with a shotgun and a chainsaw."
Now don't take those little jabs as me making fun of her looks. Getting braces in a case like this isn't so much a vanity thing as it is a "being able to chew my fucking food correctly" thing. The sucky part about them is that they take so long to work. They're pushing and pulling teeth into their correct spots without using surgery, so obviously it's going to take forever. If we could just yank our teeth around at a moment's notice and place them where we want, we'd have no need for braces -- and I'd have mine sticking straight out at a 90-degree angle at all times so that I'd have to chew my food by pecking at it like a bird.
But the point is that since it does take so long, you never really notice a change in the person who has them until it's time to get them taken off. It's such a gradual thing that even after they get them removed, you have to see a before-and-after shot to notice the difference. Like this:
Holy crap, it even made her hair grow!
The video itself is 18 months of ongoing correction crammed into a 30-second span. And watching those things slowly slide into place is both awesome and cringe-inducing at the same time. You can almost hear them creaking like a sumo wrestler on a hardwood floor as the back ones are pulled from a 30-degree inward slant to facing upright, the way her stupid DNA failed to do. Hey, don't worry about it, God. We got this one.
#5. The Sky
Space dorks like me will instantly get a hard-on from this video. Even the women. But it's another case of being mundane based on perspective. For instance, a night sky is beautiful, and there are many people, including myself, who can stare up at it for long periods of time, just taking in the complexities and the scale of our universe. View it through a telescope, and it becomes almost frightening in its depth and majesty. But no matter how you look at it, even in real time, it just looks like a calm, serene backdrop, painted by a really, really big dude. Infinite miles of infinite stillness.
That's because the further you are from an object, the less motion you can detect. It's why storm clouds seem to just sit there until they're right on top of you, and then they kick into turbo mode, whipping past at "get your ass in the basement" speeds. And why the guy a mile and a half away from you seems to be a frozen speck on the horizon, but in your crosshairs, the little fucker won't stand still long enough to get one good shot off.
But put that same night sky on time lapse, and suddenly, you can feel it. Tell me you can't actually feel Earth's rotation when you watch that. It's almost dizzying. I'm not sure it's possible for a person to see the night sky the same after watching that video. And as long as we're on the subject of space ...