Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Hot Yoga Cold Beer



I am often asked things like, “What did you do over the weekend?” “What are doing during the break?” And the ever popular, “how do you spend your free time?” For several years my answer has been, “Hot yoga and cold beer.” Announced in an amusing tone with a completely serious expression. In the unlikely event you are reading this, you may be wondering, what has he been doing since his last blog post? I’ll tell you. Hot yoga and cold beer.

For over a year now both of my kids have been out of the house. Granted, they weren’t always there to begin with, being divorced and all. They stayed at my house 14 -15 nights a month. They were half-way in the house, and now they are fully out of the house, save for holiday visits and the odd weekend. I have become what could be described as an empty next bachelor. What does any empty next bachelor do?  Let us examine a typical week, you can fill in the rest.

Work. There is work. Gotta have a job, right? Gotta contribute to the local economic matrix. I enjoy work the most when I don’t care about what is going on at work. The place isn’t run the way I would run it, and I don’t run it, so it is better if I mostly stay out of it. Mostly.

Weekdays. My norm is to hit a 6:30 yoga class. Well, half the classes are yoga. At one point the classes at the studio were pretty much all yoga. They have diversified. Half yoga and half fitness classes. Regardless, I still say I am going to "yoga” even if half the time it ain’t yoga. After a 6:30 class I get home around 8. This is decision time. Actually I have two decision points. The first is at 6PM, where I decide whether or not to make a left turn at Albuquerque, as I call it. If I do make a left turn at Albuquerque then I am skipping hot yoga and going straight to cold beer. It happens. After class I decide if I want to follow hot yoga with cold beer. That is 50/50. In any case, I am usually in bed by 11. It’s a school night, ya know.

The first big decision on weekends is one hot yoga class, or two hot yoga classes. The second big decision on weekends is when do I start drinking cold beer. The time of year is important, not because of how hot or cold it is outside, because of football. I enjoy watching college football, that’s on Saturdays. I don’t care much for the NFL, and care even less for the Dallas Cowboys. Even so, it is enjoyable to watch a game and care not about the outcome. I can appreciate any good play for what it is, people watch, drink cold beer (of course), and embrace the energy of the crowd as they cheer or groan.

During football season if I do do two hot yoga classes I will do them back-to-back in the morning. Thus beginning my imbibing of cold beer in the area of afternoon. Outside of football season I will more likely do a morning hot yoga and a late afternoon hot yoga, and probably not have any cold beer at all on Sundays.

That about covers my time spent as an empty nest bachelor. Now it is time for some hot yoga and some cold beer. Cheers!




Friday, October 23, 2015

Gender Me This


There has been many an article, blog, news story, and discussion regarding the treatment and perception of women as seen through the lens of men. Just about any book or movie. GamerGate. Sexual assaults on college campuses. Fewer women in positions of power. Celebrity nude photos. Doxing. Less pay for women. Imposter Syndrome. Lean in. Many of these musings have a similar point: that women are defined by men. Having grown up in a culture where women are defined by men, women have been conditioned to believe and accept this definition. The current rise in discussions about women’s treatment in relation to men is due to women no longer buying into this paradigm.

All throughout history, and even today in parts of world, women were considered the property of men. This great historical weight is not easily moved or overcome. The fight for gender equality, largely beginning in the 1960’s is still, 50 years later, in its early stages. As a society and culture we are shining a light into the dark corners of masculinity, the alpha male, macho men – the male perspective that has worked tirelessly promoting their own agenda to the determent of women. Shining this light to expose the narcissism and selfishness of men.

Almost all TV shows, movies, books, our entire culture! All of these place women into a certain light, paint women into a certain corner, defined by men. Over the decades in film and TV, who has created and controlled the image of women? Women's bodies have always been used in advertising to attract, peddle, and sell. Does a woman feel sexy based on what she thinks is sexy? Or what men think is sexy? Is a woman's behavior based on what she wants? Or is it a male ideal, a template, bombarding her since her earliest memories?

As you read the following quote consider that men have defined the reality in which women live.

"Think for yourself. Question authority. Throughout human history, as our species has faced the frightening, terrorizing fact that we do not know who we are, or where we are going in this ocean of chaos, it has been the authorities, the political, the religious, the educational authorities who attempted to comfort us by giving us order, rules, regulations, informing, forming in our minds their view of reality. To think for yourself you must question authority and learn how to put yourself in a state of vulnerable, open-mindedness; chaotic, confused, vulnerability to inform yourself. Think for yourself. Question authority."

"Forming in our minds their view of reality." In our culture and society as girls grow into women what has formed in their minds is men's view of reality. Question what has formed in your mind, and determine if that is indeed your true self.


And now a related tangent. Just for funsies. I want to talk about these things.

The first season of True Detective written by author Nic Pizzolatto. Do men hate women? Or do men hate themselves and feel better about themselves by mistreating women? It comes down to ego and status, power and control. I AM A MAN, DAMMIT!! In the first season of True Detective there is a decades long sexual subjection and serial murders of women and children. One man so emotionally neutered that he forgoes close relationships. A second man so caught up in the bravado of masculinity that he ignores his wife and daughters and commits multiple infidelities. The TV show received heavy criticism for treating women poorly, with stereotypically weak-women or women-in-peril characters, and generally being anti-feminist.

Female characters are indeed marginalized, the focus of the show being two men compartmentalized by their own machoism, who end up with only each other. True Detective, season one perpetuates the old school paradigm of women existing at best as accessories to men, and at worst to be used by men, often brutally, and then discarded. It is a male-centric story, which is fine, but it fails to include real-life female characters. It fails to treat any women in the story with respect. Is this laziness? Or is this simply another cookie-cutter, traditional crime story about men being men, and women defined by those men?

Girl with the Dragon Tattoo novels by Stieg Larsson. Adapted into three Swedish movies, and one Hollywood version. The original title was The Men Who Hate Women, a searing indication of the theme. There is another decades long sexual subjection and serial murders of women. Forced prostitution. A cabal of men in government who ignore the abuse of a woman, and who lead the charge in the abuse of her daughter. The lead male character, Mikael Blomkvist, while seemingly the most sympathetic towards women treats his romantic partners with indifference. Lisobeth Salander, the central character and heroin, stands in stark relief to the cookie-cutter women portrayed in popular culture.

Lisobeth has suffered her entire life at the hands of brutal and selfish men. As an adult she embraces and exudes her true identity, yet still the target of the sexual tyranny of men and their abuses. Stieg Larsson is not perpetuating the male-centric idea of female identify, he is crucifying it. Drawn and quartered with its entrails pulled out for all to see. The male view of female sexuality is not romanticized. The entitlement men believe they have over women results in at best indifference, and more likely in assault, rape and murder. Juxtaposed by the non-conforming image and behavior of Lisobeth who eventually triumphs over the selfish brutality of men.

 

"Think for yourself. Question authority."







 

Friday, October 9, 2015

Me and My Not White Privilege


"Power from unearned privilege can look like strength when it is in fact permission to escape or to dominate."
White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Backpack
by Peggy McIntosh


I am white. Thus by definition I must have white privilege. What is white privilege? This thing, this apparent power I never knew I had until someone who didn't like it told me I had it? White privilege is what racists give to white people while they are being racist to non-white people. Just as the victim of racism cannot control the racist, or the acts of racism, so the victim of white privilege cannot control the racist, or the acts of white privilege. Each is a byproduct of racism.

What am I to do about receiving white privilege from racists? Black people learn how to alter their behavior to avoid being targets of racism. In the past few years I have heard black parents relate stories of how they teach their children how to avoid confrontations with police. I know of a black man with a good job and great career who drove a very nice car but grew tired of being pulled over so he reverted to driving a not so nice car. My white privilege is I do not have to teach my children about how to avoid confrontations with police. My white privilege is I don't get pulled over as often. My white privilege is I do not arouse suspicions when I browse in a department store. My white privilege is I am less likely to serve prison time, I more likely to receive a better education, and I am more likely to find decent pay for a decent job. Is that really white privilege?

What am I to do about receiving white privilege from racists? The problem with racism is not black people, the problem is the racists. The problem with white privilege is not white people, the problem is the racists. Of course, in this example the racists are white. Racists can also be black, and in those situations is there a such a thing as black privilege? If I am a victim of racism at the hands of a black person then it stands to reason there are some who are victims of black privilege. Or brown privilege. Or yellow privilege. Or whatever privilege. Just as historically in culture and society men have held the power and so sexism by men is seen rightfully as the greater evil, historically in culture and society white people have held the power and so racism by white people is seen rightfully as the greater evil.

What is up with the "white privilege" movement? There are many who never witness racism and thus say racism is not a problem. Those combatting racism shout "white privilege" in an attempt to raise awareness among those who do not experience racism. "Look! You receive these benefits because of racism!!" I get it. Raising awareness. Accusing someone of white privilege just because they are white is racist in and of itself, and a white person simply receiving a benefit from a racist is not white privilege.

The term "white privilege" implies an expectation of favorable treatment based on the color of your skin. This is form of racism. They are two sides of the same coin, white privilege and overt racism. On the one side is how you treat others differently (worse) because they are not your race, and the other side is your expectation of being treated differently (better) by those the same race as you.






Thursday, September 17, 2015

Travel Blog

She had to be under 5 feet tall. She was seated, but, yes, not tall in stature. Also very athletic. Somewhat like a gymnast. Alone at first, then a man arrived. Also short, muscular, looks like a gymnast, too. Same skin tone, similar features. If they aren't brother and sister then they look like two people meant to be with each other.

They talked prior to departure. She mentioned several times she wanted to workout, and she didn't want to get fat. As can be the case a woman's body image is based on an ideal incongruent with her actual body. This is a leap because she didn't actually call herself fat. She does carry a small amount of pudginess that can be attractive on the young.

For their trip she has planned out where they will eat. Only burger places seem to be listed. If she eats burgers daily then, yes, working out sounds like good life balance choice.

A man one row up has on a brand new cowboy hat. It is on his head but he is carrying the box, which seems empty. The box says the hat is rodeo style, which I guess means the sides are turned up, like his are.

Why don't I have a fit bit? I am asked by the mother of my children, one of which sits between us. Everytime I hear someone talk about their fit bit I feel like asking, if you wear it on the arm with which you masturbate how will that be reported by the fit bit? Would it record in cold hard numbers a log of your mastubatory habit? I am not going to get a fit bit to find out. I did not ask my ex-wife this question.

People choose to wear a wide variety of clothing while travelling by plane, but this is not true. Men wear what men always seem to wear, which is to say men typical underdress. It is the women who dress casual-comfortable for a flight. Sweats, yoga pants, baggy clothes. Then there is the woman who boarded a 6:15am flight on a Thursday morning wearing a tight spaghetti strap top, cutoff blue jean shorts cut way up to there, and 3 inch heels. Party on, Wayne.

Mile high club? I can barely fit into this airplane bathroom. Two people can't fit in here, much less have sex in here. Maybe the only way two people can fit in here is if they are having sex, taking up less space, joined as one. But they would have to first join up outside the bathroom, and then squeeze in. I can't even tuck in my shirt without banging the walls with my elbows.

I don't care if you are traveling together, on your honeymoon, even. If there are two of you on a row with three seats why would you sit next to each other? Why would you not have more space by sitting one seat apart? And neither of them are in the aisle seat. (Addendum: they did watch a movie together, and have to sit next to each other for that.)

I can get by with an indifferent server in most of the service industry. At resturants or stores I can be served by a robot, by a Vulcan, and I am fine with that. As long as they do their job. But a friendly, cheerful flight attendant is awesome. A flight attendant with a neutral demeanor (or worse) can go teach their grandmother to suck eggs.

It is colder on this plane than the first flight, and there is less leg room.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Man, Girl, and What the Witness Saw

Someone posted the below on Facebook. Several times I stopped myself from commenting on the post, as I did not want to be a complete ass. Instead, I will be just a regular ass and make fun of the post here.

“Just watched a 50-something man drive up to a blonde teenage girl to "ask directions" in a back parking lot at a mall. She had parked as far away as possible from the store she was leaving and was trekking across the middle of the parking lot when he pulled up to her. Really? He had to have her help? That's so creepy and sure could've ended differently.”

This post says little to nothing about the man and the girl. This post says everything about the person who witnessed it. The comments were supportive by declaring the situation to indeed be “creepy” and “scary.” What I find scary is how witnessing this simple exchange brings out such fear and paranoia.

The post included the location, a more recently built shopping mall, which means there is no back parking lot. Modern shopping malls all have one big parking lot encircling the mall. Let’s just say it was a more remote section of mall parking, if the girl was able to park so far away that she has to trek across the middle of the parking lot to reach her car, then that doesn’t sound at all like a back parking lot. The witness has included “back parking lot” in the story because it adds a level of danger. The girl was not out in the open, in a more public parking lot, for anyone to see, the girl was in a back parking lot, just one step up from a back alley, where we all know perverts linger, just waiting to do nasty things to unsuspecting blonde teenage girls.

It should be pointed out that the post was made at 2:14PM. And since the witness claims to have “just watched” this exchange, then it occurred approximately 2PM on a weekday afternoon. Bad things don’t happen in back alleys … ummm, back parking lots … only in the middle of the night. So I guess this one is a wash. Girls are abducted by strangers in broad daylight all the time!

The man talked to the girl to “ask directions.” Since the witness provides no additional information on this point then we must assume the man did indeed ask directions. Why the quotation marks? Hmmm …

  • “Excuse me, pretty blonde vulnerable defenseless na├»ve virgin teenage girl, can you tell me where I might find … DICK’s Sporting Goods?”
  • “Hello there, blonde just –asking-for-it teenage girl, how exactly can I find my way into your pants?”
  • “Greetings, my pretty, is there a Victoria’s Secret in this mall? I need to buy some clean, fresh, pure, white panties for my daughters who I assure you I am keeping save from the world by home schooling them and never letting them out of my sight or the sight of an approved guardian, but I do like to see them wearing clean, fresh, pure, white panties … what kind of panties are you wearing?
  • “Good afternoon, blonde teenage girl, I am going to pretend to ask you directions so I may ogle you, and maybe stuff you into my trunk if it weren’t 2PM in the afternoon, and we weren’t in the middle of this back parking lot, and that lady over there wasn’t witnessing this entire exchange."

How did it actually end? We must assume the man asked directions, and then the girl provided directions, and then the man drove off, and the girl proceeded to her car.
How could it have “ended differently?”
  1. She doesn’t give him directions.
  2. She gives him directions but they suck and he still can’t find what he is looking for.
  3. The girl pulls out a gun and shoots the man dead while he is sitting in his car which is still in gear and his foot falls off the brake pedal and the car idles or creeps slowly across the back parking lot like a wayward shopping cart and hits another car.
  4. A man is hiding in the back of the girl’s car and abducts her.
  5. The witness feels concern during this exchange but the man drives off and the girl walks safely to her car and the witness realizes this was just another regular everyday exchange between two strangers into which she injected her own fear and paranoia which she feels motivated to inject into her own daughter (who was with her at the time) by using this as another teaching moment but then realizes the hundreds of previous teaching moments should suffice where she instructed her daughter that strange men are the most dangerous thing in the world to girls and indeed men are very dangerous to girls but they usually aren’t strangers they are usually family or a friend or a known authority figure and she decides to let the concern pass and not put more of her fears into her daughter because her daughter is probably full-up anyway and the witness never even thinks about relaying the story nor posting it on facebook. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

7 Minute Footsteps

Life proceeds in 7 minute increments. Does everything you do take 7 Minutes? Of course not. Don't be silly. Think of the 7 minutes as footsteps; mental, intellectual, emotional footsteps. You are moving in a direction, one step at a time. Will you continue doing whatever you are doing? Or change directions?

Focus. Attention. Engagement. Think of these as making up the footsteps. Mentally. Intellectually. Emotionally. Every "7 minutes" you unconsciously decide if your focus will stay or shift, if your attention will hold or falter, if your engagement will remain or wane. Every "7 minutes."

Here is the point. The most important moment in your life, ever, is your current 7 Minutes. Doesn’t matter what you are doing. Sleeping, driving, sitting on the toilet. Your current moment is the only moment that matters. Sure, remember past moments. Sure, plan future moments. Do not become preoccupied with either. No matter what you are you doing, what you are doing is the most important moment of your life.

Stay focused on your current 7 Minutes.
Pay attention to your current 7 Minutes.
Remain engaged with your current 7 Minutes.