About a week ago, I was standing to one side of the parking lot of a shopping center near my lair. I stood there, watching the people scurrying around; attempting to accomplish whatever various tasks that had brought them there. It occurred to me that this is how I tend to view most people most of the time; from a broad, generalized and impersonal perspective, like watching ants. This should not come as a surprise to anyone reading my rants. A person has to be something pretty special, for me to give them any real consideration (or to even notice them at all, most of the time). The majority of people are really just another part of the landscape to me. There are trees, vehicles, buildings, billboards, the sky, the ground and people. And when they break away from being just another part of the landscape and make their presence more obvious; then they become an annoyance.
Contrary to my feelings on the subject, most individuals seem to be very people oriented. Basically, what I mean is, that many people tend to naturally pay more attention to other people, than I normally do. Some of the advertising books that I've read have noted that photographs of people tend to get customers attention and draw the eye more consistently than cartoons or illustrations of people do. People often notice one another, or are more aware of presence of other individuals. If I come upon someone in a public place at a distance, whom I know, I normally won't be aware of it (until they inevitably try to get my attention or come up to talk to me) because I'm not (usually) paying any attention to the people around me. I'm aware of the presence of a body, but I make no attempt to actually look at a person to see who they are. As far as I'm concerned, they're just a part of the scenery.
I've also noticed that many people don't seem to be quite as concerned about environments and atmospheres as I am (this is not to say that they're not affected by them, just that they aren't as consciously aware of it). Colors, textures, temperatures and lighting all have an effect on human emotion and state of mind, and I've noticed that my surroundings have a great impact on how I feel. I'd encourage anyone to explore this idea for themselves. What types of environments or surroundings make you feel the most comfortable? Are there any that you simply cannot stand? Unfortunately we can't always pick what kinds of surroundings were going to find ourselves in, but we can use that information to try to make things consistently better for ourselves. Despite what society may imply, it's not a crime to refuse to go to a place simply because you don't like the atmosphere (and even if it was, would that really be a problem for a villain?). I'm sure that many people would say that it's stupid or petty to avoid a place simply because the colors, lighting, or architecture aren't to your liking; but I believe that state of mind is a very important thing. Of course, this is usually not a very socially acceptable excuse for not wanting to go somewhere (then again, since when has society ever had your personal, best interests in mind?). Friends, employers, and other such folks, will often side with social expectations, and this often means personal sacrifice. You will have to decide whether it's worth going along with, or saying "screw this" and doing what's best for you.
Even though I'm usually the last guy to condemn progress or greed, I must admit that I sometimes can't help but side with people who want to resist changes to local landscapes by large corporate chains or retail outlets (though on the upside, many such places are open all night, and you know I'm in favor of that). It's not the change itself that bothers me, nor is it the unyielding capitalistic charge for more money. It's not even the increase in traffic and all of the wretched people that will be coming and going as a result of the development. It's the fact that I know that whatever's going to be built there will probably be less interesting than whatever used to be there (whether it was a vacant lot or another business).
Many consumers crave security and familiarity, which of course, is often the complete opposite of the kind of dark, chaotic atmosphere that I'd prefer. It seems that people would like to make the world over into one big Disney theme park; safe, sterile, well lit and devoid of anything which could be seen as too offensive or alien. In other words, boring. Obviously, a consumer friendly atmosphere just doesn't agree with me. There's just something about certain kinds of smaller shops, with a darker, mustier feel, somewhat disorganized merchandise, and a possibly eccentric, but knowledgeable sales clerk, that's very appealing to me. That kind of darker, "lived in" sort of atmosphere, that some smaller shops have, reminds one of a scene from a movie where some interesting (or dangerous) article or personal treasure may be found. It inspires a sense of discovery, and unpredictability. It's hard to imagine uncovering a rare, exotic, or highly unusual item on a white metal shelf, under the fluorescent lights of a super center (price check on forbidden tome, register 24!). And I'd much rather deal with a surly or strange salesperson, who knows what they're doing, then someone who is expected to be polite, but who really doesn't care about their work or is a complete idiot.
Anyone looking at this site should be able to tell what kind of atmosphere I prefer. When designing the layout and general look of TwistedJenius.com, I thought about it as an architectural or interior design type of challenge. It had to have balance, color, texture, structure as well as functionality (obviously the site doesn't look much like the inside of most buildings, but then again, you haven't seen my lair). Since atmosphere is so important to me, and TwistedJenius.com is an entertainment site, I decided that a graphics heavy layout was the way to go.
A villain's lair should be a place of relaxation and personal indulgence. Your environment should be customized to suit, not only your practical needs, but psychological preferences as well. And even in an increasingly squeaky clean, grossly predictable world, I feel certain that there are still environments and landscapes out there, suited to every taste; and waiting to be discovered by those who are willing to look. As for TwistedJenius.com, well, you can be sure that this cyberscape will continue to look as interesting as it does right now; at least as long as I'm overlord of creativity.