Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Movie (mystic river) and Tangent

There are some spoilers below. Kinda. You should watch Mystic River and then return!

I re-watched Mystic River. I have seen it only once before, in the theater during its original release. I would have voted it best picture that year. I recall it had a powerful ending, but I did not derive any conclusions at that time. I have now.

You might think the central theme of Mystic River is what it means to be a man. A manly man. An alpha male. Certainly covered, but not the main theme, and what it says about becoming a man is not what you might think. The movie implies an event in your childhood can derail your train ride to being a man. In a sense, every boy is born a future alpha male. Getting there as an adult is just a product of chance. Events from your childhood can damage you; take away your mojo. Whether or not you make it to alpha male is a product of events beyond your control. Essentially random.

The central theme of Mystic River is family loyalty, completely revealed during the final scene. The story involves three families. One family is destroyed because the wife was not loyal to her husband, thus causing his death. She would say she was doing the right thing. Although she should have gone to the police with her story, and not the alpha male married to her cousin. If she would have stood by her husband just one more day then he would still be alive (albeit with other problems). Of the remaining two families  one is together because of the husband’s loyalty to and patience with his estranged wife, and the other because of the wife’s and husband’s devotion to each other. Right or wrong. Good or bad. You stand by your family. 

Now for a tangent (bait and switch?) …

There apparently is some study. You know, we asked several hundred people this or that so we can get a news headline. The results indicate that circumstances under which you lose your virginity can impact your attitude toward sex. In the simplest terms if when you lost your virginity, including how you were treated post-cherry popping, you found it to be a generally comfortable and satisfying experience then you are likely to have a more open and accepting approach to sex. And vice versa.

And what of the alpha male? No doubt even when losing one’s virginity an alpha male is gonna be all alpha-y and what not. If his partner responds well to his alpha-ness then he is good to go. He might become the classic pin-her-to-the-wall-and-pull-her-hair kinda lover so many 50 Shades wannabes are interested in. (Although, me thinks the 50 Shades wannabes are really interested in a late-20’s handsome billionaire.)

What if his partner does not respond well? If he is an alpha male to the core then he doesn’t care about his partner’s response; his virginity losing experience will not keep him from being god’s gift to women. If he is borderline alpha male then said event could knock from the manly man path, turning him into a sensitive metrosexual man who treats women with respect (i.e. a loser).

So. Bottom line. Go out and get some. Unless you respect women. Then go out and come home alone.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Begin Fantasy Novel

As Patch the wizard guided the plow behind the horse he thought of all the spells he knew and didn’t know that would allow him to plow this field in less time and without breaking a sweat. This was a common past time for Patch; conjuring spells in his mind that he never actually conjures. He had given up that lifestyle years prior. It was just too much work, requiring too much diligence, and it was very, very dangerous. Once a wizard became known, once a wizard had a reputation, then all manner of folk came out the woodwork seeking out that wizard. Some wanted help. Some wanted to hurt. Some wanted to prove themselves in a dual.

Patch wasn’t even his current name. It wasn’t his wizard name either. His mother called him Patch, and he was called Patch while growing up. He considered it his one true name. A name like Patch would generate little awe in the world of magic. In fact, it would be a detriment. It sounded more like the name of pet. Besides, all wizards changed their names when they embraced their calling. The more syllables the better. Although Patch didn’t see much sense in more than three syllables; four or more syllables turned a name into a chore. Rastabelleon. Marticusassling. The ever powerful Sharagatamlasog. Gartalon he had named himself. The Wizard Gartalon. It sounded silly to him now. All wizard names sound silly to him now, but not in his youth. Gartalon held no special meaning; he had liked the sound of it. And since it had no real meaning it took on a meaning of its own based on the exploits of The Wizard Gartalon.

It had been 14 years since Patch last resided under the name Gartalon. Wizards mature young and typically die young. Sharagatamlasog had died particularly young. Patch had retired young, and taken up a new name. A name to hide beneath. Jask. He was known as Farmer Jask. He also changed his appearance, which were quite easily the most painful spells he had ever endured, far more painful than attacking spells from other wizards. 

The field finally plowed Patch stabled his horse, put the barn in order, and washed up for supper.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Die Alone

Here is why I will die alone.

I have not been in a relationship for 12 years. That is right. No girlfriend during that time. Haven’t been on more than 5 dates with the same woman. Nothing. There are several reasons why this is so and why it is unlikely to change.

I don’t need a relationship. There is a difference between want and need, and I don’t need a relationship. As a consequence I don’t force it. I am not aggressively looking for a relationship. I date less often and I don’t go out with someone just because I can.

Inertia. I am used to being alone. Some people go from one relationship to the next; in a sense they never stop moving and it is hard for them to stop. I have stopped and now it will be hard for me to get moving. Being in a relationship has to be more satisfying than being alone. We all make sacrifices in order to be in a relationship, and I have yet to find the motivation to make those sacrifices. Basically, women with whom I could have had a relationship have not been worth the trouble.

I can entertain myself (related to above). I can always find something to do around the house to fill my time. I am not afraid to do activities by myself. I have no problem dining alone, or going to the movies alone, etc. Sure, there are many activities I can’t, or wouldn’t, do alone. But I am not pining to do those things, and I certainly won’t get together with anyone just so I can do those things.

Time is not on my side. I am 47 years old. Generally, we all grow less attractive as we age. I find myself looking at women in my age group and thinking, “frumpy moms.” And I am not getting any younger, either. Sure, there are exceptions but exceptions are usually interested in two things: other exceptions or younger. You might think aging would give me a sense of urgency, or increase my concern about being old and alone. Nope.

I used to say I never expected to get remarried; not that I excluded the possibility, it just wasn’t on my to-do list. I guess now you could say I never expect to be in a relationship, it seems to not be on my to-do list.

See ya in the graveyard. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

That That

I used to think that it was fun whenever I could say “that that” in a sentence.
I used to think it was fun whenever I could say “that that” in a sentence. 


I knew that that dog would not behave.
I knew that dog would not behave.

Then I realized that I was really just saying “that” more than needed.
Then I realized I was really just saying “that” more than needed.

Then I noticed that everyone overuses “that.” Not just in conversation, but I see it in emails, news articles, and books.
Then I noticed everyone overuses “that.” Not just in conversation, but I see it in emails, news articles, and books.

Here is what you need to do. Notice when you write a sentence that includes the word “that.” Then read the sentence with “that” omitted. Remove all that are possible to remove.

Over a week or so I accumulated the following from a variety of sources.

 Glad to hear that your date went well last night.
**Glad to hear your date went well last night.**

If you were to ask someone that knows me they would probably say that I am a pretty funny person that takes sarcasm to the max.
**If you were to ask someone who knows me they would probably say I am a pretty funny person who takes sarcasm to the max.**

She could no longer pretend that he wasn’t an idiot.
**She could no longer pretend he wasn't an idiot.**

There isn’t anything that can be done about the viewing of data.
** leave it! **

We will provide a file, and not a query that you can run.
**We will provide a file and not a query you can run.**

Moving that line is simply a matter of societal and cultural change, and technological progress.
** leave it! **

Just want all of you to know that I went to my "likes", of which I had few, and unliked them all so that you will not see them as advertising in your news feed.
**Just want all of you to know I went to my "likes", of which I had few, and unliked them all so you will not see them as advertising in your news feed.**

In that moment she realized that she wasn’t really sorry at all and she didn’t really wish him well.
** In that moment she realized she wasn’t really sorry at all and she didn’t really wish him well.**

That ought to do it!




Friday, January 11, 2013

Bit More On Guns

There is a balance to be found between all or nothing. Reasonable laws, properly enforced, can save hundreds, even thousands of lives each year. The idea is to make it more difficult for would-be shooters and criminals, without it being too restrictive overall.

Gun proponents generally have lame arguments. Here are their common tactics. The purpose of the below argument methods is to derail any intelligent discussion on guns and to remove compromise as an option.

  • Change the Subject! Talk about traffic accident fatalities. Bring up drunk driving, or drugs. Discuss all the ways people die other than by guns. Win by misdirection.
  • Dominate the conversation! Just keep talking. If something can be said in 1 sentence then better to say it in 20. Introduce unrelated topics (see above). Overwhelm the discussion like you’re a high volume clip on full auto. Win by force.
  • Zero Sum! Accept no compromise. Any gun control is bad gun control. Regardless of what level of gun control is being proposed, escalate the argument into all or nothing. Win with absolutes.
  • Insult! Question your opponent’s patriotism. Guns are the American way! The founding fathers said so! Question your opponent’s intelligence. We have to fight tyranny! Quote criminals and dictators to illustrate their gun-love. Make your opponent appear selfish and stupid. Win by belittling.
  • Can’t beat ‘em! Crime will never go away. Violence will never go away. People with guns kill people so we need more people with guns. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Win thru demoralization.
We should always be working towards reducing shootings and gun violence. The contributing factors are many. Including societal, cultural, socioeconomic, family, relationships, mental health, and access to guns. Save for guns these factors are nuanced and multi-faceted; gun control is more straightforward and tangible. Let’s get some reasonable nation-wide laws on the books, enforce them, and then move on.

Some people hear of a shooting and imagine if only they could have been there with their own gun and killed the shooter. Other people hear of a shooting and imagine if only there was not a shooting in the first place.