June 2008 Archives

sophomoric

When I was a sophomore in high school, I took a fiction writing course. This was to the lament of everyone involved. It was then that I learned that you have to like a genre in order to write it. I neither enjoy nor read fiction, and man, did it ever show.

My stuff was just awful. On this, everyone in the class eagerly agreed. God had blessed me with just enough talent to fully grasp the depths to which I sucked. Classmates felt sorry for me, albeit just the few who weren't conspiring to flog me to death so they wouldn't have to read any more.

One of my particularly vile efforts was about a group of interstellar travelers. We followed their lives as they spent decades and generations aboard a craft hurtling toward a distant radio signal. The blue planet grew in their windows until voila, they arrived. (BIG REVEAL TIME!) Why, it's Earth! Why, these weren't humans we were following at all! Why, the only thing that could make it even twistier would be if...YES! The Earth has been devastated by a nuclear holocaust! There's no one left! You blew it up! Damn you! Damn you all to hell!

Sharing that here is humiliating.

I would have gladly left this foray into fecal prose in the compost pile of my mind, but then along came the Battlestar finale. I cannot imagine a more scathing indictment of the show's writers than "I wrote exactly that my sophomore year."

earth.PNG

dobson blight

Obama's stock has taken a dive with me in recent weeks, but leave it to Rev. James Dobson to reverse the trend. Per CNN, this is what Obama said about religion in governance:

"Which passages of scripture should guide our public policy?" Obama asks in the speech. "Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is OK and that eating shellfish is an abomination? Or we could go with Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith?"
Sounds reasonable. Meanwhile...
A top U.S. evangelical leader is accusing Sen. Barack Obama of deliberately distorting the Bible and taking a "fruitcake interpretation" of the U.S. Constitution...In the comments to be aired later Tuesday, Dobson said Obama should not be referencing antiquated dietary codes and passages from the Old Testament that are no longer relevant to the teachings of the New Testament.
Presumably Dobson means the part where the New Testament says:
Slaves, obey your masters here on earth. Respect them and honor them with a heart that is true. Obey them just as you would obey Christ. Don't obey them only to please them when they are watching. Do it because you are slaves of Christ. Be sure your heart does what God wants.

Serve your masters with all your heart. Work as if you were not serving people but the Lord. You know that the Lord will give you a reward. He will give to each of you in keeping with the good you do. It doesn't matter whether you are slaves or free. (Ephesians 6)

It almost reads like it was written like a free man, doesn't it? Specifically the same free man who also wrote "Wives, obey your husbands" in Dobson's beloved New Testament. (Ephesians 5)

close enough

My house is now relatively feces-free, thanks to Blondage's return and the subsequent departure of Piper. A few hours before Blondage's plane landed, I let Piper into Blondage's empty condo. (I laid down fresh piddle pads. Piper missed. "Close enough!" a delighted Blondage would say later, thereby explaining my last two weeks in a nutshell.)

And then I short-sheeted Blondage's bed. I took away about four feet of foot room. Her head would finally hit the pillow around 4am her time, and ruining that divine moment seemed the least I could do. The next morning, she said nothing. I finally asked.

She hadn't noticed. How short are you when someone short-sheets your bed by half and your feet don't touch?

kobe beef

Remember when Michael Jordan, playing at home, allowed the visiting team to come back from 24 points down in the NBA Finals? No? Me neither. In fact, it's unimaginable.

May we kindly, pretty please, officially stop mentioning Kobe in the same breath as Jordan now?

june bug

It must be June, because I'm already wondering whether I'll vote this fall. I can't stand to hear the candidates talk at this time of the election cycle. Everything I ever liked about them vanishes and is replaced with focus group-tested slogans. Change! The right change! Bush III! Carter II!

Frankly, neither B3 or C2 is all that appealing.

McCain seems to have sold his soul. This is a man who once shoved 132 year old bigot Strom Thurmond on the Senate floor. Who stood up to his party on climate change, campaign finance, and tax cuts during wartime. I liked that guy. Now he's got his lips so permanently affixed to his party's pimply butt, I can't even understand what he's saying anymore. This is why courage matters, Senator?

Obama, meanwhile, knows the basis of his appeal very well. He's the candidate of hope. As in I hope his countless unnamed policies won't be completely asinine. As he retreats more and more into rock star territory, saying nothing but inoffensive platitudes, lest I know something concrete, I grow more and more twitchy. Is he cotton candy? That is, does there appear to be lots of substance, but really there's mostly just empty calories and air?

I hope not.

penetration

We'd parked my car in the casino parking lot when my sister found Courtney's jacket in the back seat. Courtney is five foot nothing and maybe 100 pounds, and her jacket is a hand puppet. My sister asked whose it was, and I told her it was "my friend Courtney's." She tried to put it on. It slid no farther than her bicep. We laughed, left the jacket in the car, and proceeded into the casino.

"YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE PROBLEMS WITH THAT ONE," she declared in a full-on yell.

"What do you mean?"

"WELL, YOU KNOW ABOUT SMALL WOMEN, DON'T YOU?"

Oh no. Please don't. Not in the crowded lobby of the cas—

"THEIR VAGINAS ARE SO SMALL YOU MIGHT NOT EVEN BE ABLE TO PENETRATE, AT LEAST NOT WITHOUT HURTING HER."

I was stunned numb. "Well, I've had my whole fist up there, so I don't think it's gonna be any problem," I replied in my imagination three minutes later when I finally thought of a response.

self-diagnosis

I actually did perk up once during my sister's droning. She diagnosed our sister Nadine as having narcissistic personality disorder, and her definition was something along the lines of "everything's about her." I knew that wasn't right. I'd looked up narcissism a few months back, when I was still with Sarah.

Good times.

As I re-read the list of criteria, this time to my sister, I commented that they applied to most members of our family. "Take this. 'Is often envious of others or believes others are envious of him or her.'"

"That's totally Nadine!" my sister shrieked. "She's totally envious of me!"

"Did you, um, hear the part where, um..."

• • •

For the record, here's the list.

  • overreacts to criticism, becoming angry or humiliated
  • has a grandiose sense of self-importance
  • is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
  • believes that he or she is "special" and unique
  • requires excessive admiration
  • has a sense of entitlement
  • is interpersonally exploitative
  • lacks empathy
  • is often envious of others or believes others are envious of him or her
  • shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes


seven hours to go

In one obvious sense, I feel bad for saying that my mentally ill sister is driving me crazy. But that's a recessive gene. Mostly, I feel truly sorry for myself. The acoustic assault is unrelenting. She requires no participation on my part. She just winds herself up and vroom, off to the races. From the moment my door opens in the morning, I'm bombarded with minutiae about people I do not know. I hear about their flaws and her grievances against them. This is my sister's sole hobby nowadays: she confidently diagnoses other people's addictions and/or psychoses. I can't wait to hear mine.

The nearby casino is a godsend. There, I can read a book at the bar while she pinpoints the dealer as a manic-depressive who is trying to screw her over. Yesterday we went there for the fourth time during this visit, and we stayed for six hours. Every hour there was an hour I wasn't with her alone, so I got increasingly giddy. I told the bartender, who had been giving me an endless supply of Diet Cokes all weekend, about my scheme.

Her eyes flashed with recognition, then she laughed. During her smoke breaks all weekend, the dealers had been complaining about a particularly loud, obnoxious player who was driving them insane with weird pronouncements and an unremitting droning about herself. And oh yes, she was visiting her brother this weekend.

The poor dealers. Now I'm feeling guilty again.

Ah. There. It passed again.

kerguelen, ho!

Stank troll John suggests that perhaps Seattle isn't far enough away from home. He has a point. Research shows that the exact opposite point on Earth from my family is in the Indian Ocean. I'm not really up for that. But a few hundred miles to the southeast lie the Kerguelen Islands.

Home sweet home.

p187769-French_Antarctic_Islands-Penguins_in_the_night_in_Kerguelen_Island.jpg

shitty weekend

I write you this from the toilet. I say this not to illustrate my vileness, but to convey that I'm hiding behind the only door in my house that locks.

My older sister has a long history of mental illness, and things aren't getting better. When she stepped off her plane yesterday, she was incoherent and slurring her words badly. "My god. She's an invalid," I thought and still think. The slurring was the result of an anti-psychotic med, and the med was for any number of maladies. Paranoid schizophrenia, paranoid something-else disorder, post-traumatic stress, mania, bipolar disorder and more were mentioned yesterday as concrete facts. Doctors who disagree with her own diagnosis are crooks who just want to keep her sick. Stewardesses, ferry guys, cashiers, Mexicans and George Bush are all trying to screw her. When the flashing falls down on her house, it's our sister's Nadine's fault. Nadine is insanely jealous of the house, you seen, and we're 100% certain it's her. I know this because I heard this story a half-dozen times yesterday. Now multiply that by a dozen stories, and you have me hiding on the toilet.

The worst part is that my sister is a very lonely person. Small wonder. Now that she has a captive audience, she never shuts up. The monologue of recycled stories, blackjack rules (she called the nearby casino six times yesterday to ask questions), and recycled stories is unremitting. Her voice is a bona fide dentist's drill. If I'm in bed, she appears next to it. Blah blah blah. Rather, BLAH BLAH BLAH. We don't use our indoor voice. If I'm watching TV or reading, she doesn't even ask for my attention first. She just starts droning an an incredible volume, then angrily demands to know why I'm not paying attention.

How come time never stands still like this when a really hot chick is staying here?

• • •

Prior to writing the above, I'd already splattered my bare legs while plunging her shitty toilet water this morning. After writing the above, I exited the bathroom to find that she's stepped in Blondage's dog's shit and tracked it all over my house.

in no other country on earth

In testament to the age of my TV shows' intended audience, last night I saw a commercial for the new Hulk movie. And after I watched our enraged hero scream and violently throw cars, buses, tanks and bodies around, I caught a glimpse of the parents warning at the end:

THIS FILM CONTAINS DEPICTIONS OF TOBACCO CONSUMPTION

A sequel to this Khristi post.

Now I'm stankful to be able to say "the strip club busted for prostitution where my ex worked."

As a role model, my dad was decidedly lacking. My friend Lisa once observed that I use him as a negative role model, that I've defined my adult self—or at least my ideal adult self—by consciously not being him. I do not have a substance abuse problem. I am not violent. I do not hit children or women. I do not lob the n-word and c-words and their ilk at strangers whose mere existence annoys me. I have a temper, a fine one actually, but it's not out of control.

This is by choice. I don't know that I am actually any mellower than my dad; I just refuse to indulge his temper. When provoked, I can feel a volcanic amount of rage that I do not allow an outlet. I contain the rage for two half-lives. My stomach-lining is made of strong stuff. Not surprisingly, such provocations usually come from family, each of whom was blessed with my dad's rage. Like nitro sitting next to C-4, I used to explode sympathetically. Then I learned to just walk away. Hell, I moved away.

I credit Bugs Bunny cartoons with this change in "stragety." My only male role model growing up, Bugs didn't look for fights like my family did. He tried to avoid fights. But he wasn't a victim, either. He just sits in his palatial rabbit hole watchin' TV and munchin' on a truly staggering pile of carrots, and he gets angry only when some asshat with a gun or rocket or ACME folding door picks a fight. This ethic appealed to me enormously as a kid. Bugs' maxim seemed to be "live peaceably, bother no one, and if they bother you, retaliate decisively." Man, did that make sense to me. Man, does it still make sense to me now.

elme-fudd.jpg

But to accomplish this, I had to chain up my Inner Dad. This took years of work. Inner Dad used to get a hand free and take the wheel once in a while, but he does no longer. He's manacled and gagged in the darkest recesses of my soul.

But every once in a while, when all reasonable measures fail, Outer Bugs will sigh resignedly, slump, and stare at that manacle key.

cheating beauty, part deux

Responses to the cheating beauty survey have been predictably few but thoughtful.

A sampling of thoughts:

I suppose it's also the same mechanism that makes death worse when it's someone young.

I wouldn't have that reaction. I always think it's crappy when someone is cheated on. How beautiful they are makes no difference. Nor does gender. How good they are might make a difference to me, though. Like if someone cheated on a cheater, it wouldn't be as bad to me as if someone cheating on a loyal partner.

Most people don't realize that relationship issues are a result of unresolved subconscious issues. People cheat because mommy drank. People cheat because mommy said sex was dirty. We pretend like it can all be fixed once we have a grown up house and a beautiful spouse. But guess what, beautiful spouse becomes...you guessed it, MOMMY!!! So we punish Mommy or try to escape her. The fact that someone is beautiful brings this issue more to the surface because it isn't about physically, it's pathology. It's harder to deny that we can escape our feelings of inferiority and that the world we live in is an illusion and a projection!

Because we assume that beautiful people are automatically more sexually desirable. And since cheating is assumed to be about sex, why would someone cheat on someone who is very sexually desirable?

Beauty is always considered more valuable. "She's so beautiful!" implies she is worth more as a human being, regardless of her character or moral standpoint. What if she is a bitch? Does that imply she "deserves" it? What if the man is an asshole? Is he more likely to "deserve" it? If it is a "beautiful man" cheated on, most women would react with a "how stupid was she?" Maybe the "beauty" is the problem.

Last question first: I don't think the first stereotypical ideal we assign to men is his hotness...in the long run, anyway; and certainly not if he's in a heterosexual relationship. If he's cheated on, we tend to think of his value and what the crazy bitch (because, that's what she is now, right?) doesn't deserve... Obviously, there's a certain cultural value placed on beautiful women; regardless of whether or not they actually deserve a special place in the pecking order. This being said, I've heard plenty of my guy friends say, "Show me a beautiful woman, I'll show you a guy who's tired of f**king her."

These graze what I was thinking: we assume cheating is about sex, for the man anyway, and along those lines we can't imagine why he'd want to stray from a beautiful woman. But when I flipped the genders, I couldn't think of an example where I thought "She's an idiot. He's so beautiful." No, to evoke this sentiment I had to use things like how well he provides for/takes care of her. Which is how many of us measure value: women for their beauty, men for their money and security. It's a generalization, of course, but I'm pretty comfortable making it.

born before my time, i was

The previous post led me to looking at my high school's web site. They have teachers named both Assman and Beaver.

columbus' happening side

I couldn't resist clicking a link by that name. It's about my hometown, after all. And what did I see?

Yeeeeeep. That's about the size of it.

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