Sands of time
December 16, 2009 4:46 AM   Subscribe

Sand castle explosions backwards: 1, 2

The year is almost over. What better time to try to gather the scattered grains of another year back into a recognizable form? The beautiful forms of 2009 may have been blown apart, scattered into the wind, same as they do every year. But the possibility of a tasty sand castle cake is still worth celebrating.
posted by twoleftfeet (22 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
There should be a Sesame Street for grown-ups, and this should be on that show.
posted by not_on_display at 4:53 AM on December 16, 2009 [2 favorites]

posted by the_very_hungry_caterpillar at 5:04 AM on December 16, 2009

No need to blow them up; they melt into the sea, eventually.
posted by Abiezer at 5:11 AM on December 16, 2009 [2 favorites]

No, No listen. Just imagine that you’ve got this ebony bath, right? And it’s conical.

Conical? What kind of bath is -

No, no, shh, shhh, it’s, it’s, it’s conical okay? So what you do, you fill it with fine white sand right? Or sugar, or anything like that. And when it’s full, you pull the plug out and it all just twirls down out of the plug hole… but the thing is…


No, the clever thing is that you film it happening. You get a movie camera from somewhere and actually film it. But then you thread the film in the projector backwards.


Yeah, neat you see. So what happens is you sit and you watch it and then everything appears to swirl upwards, out of the plug hole and fill the bath… amazing.

And that’s how the universe began?

No. But it’s a marvellous way to relax.
posted by kcds at 5:18 AM on December 16, 2009 [8 favorites]

like a building thrown up overnight
in one of those reverse earthquakes

-Elvis Costello
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:26 AM on December 16, 2009

In the unthinkably far future, when the energies that cause the universe to expand have been exhausted, time's arrow will turn about 180 degrees, the universe will contract again, and become more ordered, because the Second Law of Thermodynamics states that entropy always decreases.

Scenes like those in this video will occur on beaches throughout the world. Following the reconstitution of the sandcastle, a dynamite stick will found in each one, which will be sold to an un-manufacturer, who will decompose it into harmless chemicals. Sand castles which are not restored by dynamite will spring from the beach through the action of wind, rain, and tide. They must be carefully taken apart by skilled vandals, and the beach made flat again. Those vandals, as decades pass and they grow younger, will gradually forget everything they know about deconstructing sand castles, until, as children, they are able only to take apart tiny sand castles with pails, as every child does. When their parents have brought them home from the beach for the last time, they will forget there are even such things as sea and surf and sand. Younger and younger, smaller and smaller they will become, until their mother takes them to the hospital, and they are returned to her womb by an obstetrician.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 5:26 AM on December 16, 2009 [18 favorites]

I like the part where millions of grains of sand all decide to spontaneously leap together to form an interesting structure. Seriously, this is a lot of fun to watch.
posted by Spatch at 5:39 AM on December 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

I like explosions. And I like reversed video. But for some reason this is doing nothing for me. I'm imagining some drunken fratboys with a video camera hiring an artist.

Artist: So you want me to paint a masterpiece...why?
DFBs: We're gonna blow it up.
Artist: Does that have some artistic merit?
DFBs: And then we're gonna, like, film it backward.
(DFBs all pause and then say "whoa" in unison)
posted by DU at 5:43 AM on December 16, 2009

The key to this, of course, is to continue filming until the sand has completely fallen. Then get a dude or lady in a wizard costume to pretend to exert tremendous mental energy (in reverse). Therefore when played in reverse, it looks like they brought forth a castle/sculpture from nothing by sheer magic.

Alternately, someone crushing a smaller model with their bare hands, and then blow up the larger one, as Archimonde did to Dalaran in Warcraft 3.
posted by explosion at 6:29 AM on December 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


(for the sandcastles)
posted by sgt.serenity at 7:08 AM on December 16, 2009

This is much better if you mute it. The music is well into the realm of Trying Too Hard; the silent majesty of sand rushing backwards into the sculpture is much more affecting when the only sounds are whatever ambience you may have.

Or at least that's what I thought.
posted by egypturnash at 7:12 AM on December 16, 2009

We take part in sand castle contests every summer and have been on the short end of home town judging many times (from my perhaps biased point of view). After once again going unrewarded by the judges for our effort, I was pondering our entry when I noticed two boys regarding our sculpture. Not being the most mature man on the beach, I asked them if they wanted to wreck it. Their first act was to look at me like I was crazy, then I noticed a slight twitching of their hands and feet when they realized I might be serious. I said to them, "Go ahead, wreck it," and they flew into their task with abandon. Seconds after the deed was done, one of our helpers came up and said, "We won! We won!" It seems we didn't win our category, but were the overall winners. If you have every seen the movie "Caddyshack," the scene where Bill Murray slinks away after the monsignor is hit by lightning is an apt description of how I looked when I went up to accept our trophy.
posted by digsrus at 7:16 AM on December 16, 2009 [6 favorites]

Best thing I've done in a while was watch this large-screen on a Smart Board with the volume turned down and The Nutcracker playing instead. Thanks!
posted by foodbedgospel at 7:49 AM on December 16, 2009

Somehow (maybe it's because it's early and I'm not entirely awake yet) I read this as "send cattle explosions backwards" and thought for a brief shining moment that someone had discovered a highly specific, disturbing form of time travel. That is all.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 8:01 AM on December 16, 2009

I read this as "send cattle explosions backwards"

posted by You Can't Tip a Buick

posted by CynicalKnight at 8:26 AM on December 16, 2009

Is there anything more annoying than ads inserted before videos? Ads that can't be avoided at that. So I didn't watch the yt. Grump!
posted by Cranberry at 2:00 PM on December 16, 2009

Apparently, "castles" does not mean what I thought it did.
posted by Heretic at 8:17 PM on December 16, 2009

...and so castles made of sand
fall in the sea get blown up and filmed and reversed,
posted by flapjax at midnite at 11:57 PM on December 16, 2009

That's a funny little clip, twoleftfeet. Gotta love how the person who put it together misspelled his name as "Jimmi", though... misheard lyrics/misspelled name!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:23 AM on December 17, 2009

posted by twoleftfeet at 2:51 AM on December 17, 2009

Neat to watch, but what I'd really like to see is some reverse time-lapse footage of sand castles emerging organically from the receding ocean.

After reading digsrus' story: What is it with some kids and sand castles? One of my family's favorite beach traditions is to build big sprawling sand castles and then watch the tide destroy them. One year a little kid, who couldn't have been more than 5 or 6, came over when we were still building and said, "can I wreck it?" He got all pouty when we told him no, and spent the next couple of hours hovering around in hopes that we'd leave it unattended.
posted by usonian at 7:44 AM on December 17, 2009

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