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Neko

Saturday, April 30, 2005

A good memory of my grandma 


Let me preface this post by saying that nearly ALL of my memories of my grandma are positive; since she's human and not a saint, she had times when she was out of sorts like everyone else does, but overall she's a good and gentle soul... which makes me wonder how she could have possibly given birth to a warped and uncaring person like my mother.

When I was growing up, my grandmother used to spend most of the summer with us every year; looking back, I'm AMAZED at how good of a job my parents did of not going off the deep end when she was around... oh, they're too psycho to be able to cover it up completely, and she saw enough to form some disparaging opinions, but the sorts of extremes that she would have had to protest, and report back to the rest of the family, never happened in front of her. Since even the non-psycho have less than perfect judgment, though, there WERE a few times that my grandmother DID feel it necessary to intervene, and this is one of them:

My mother had decided at a point fairly early in my childhood that it was absolutely necessary for me to use the electric toothbrush (and I say "the" electric toothbrush because she was too cheap to buy more than one for the household) to be fully cleaning my teeth, so every night I went into my parents' bathroom and brushed my teeth; based on nothing I could ever find out, one day when I was in my teens my father decided that it was somehow problematic for me to be going into "his" room to get to the toothbrush, and my mother, unwilling to give up the idea that I MUST use it, or to simply tell him to stop being an @ss about trivial matters, agreed to semi-appease him by imposing upon me a new laundry-list of restrictions and directives (primarily concerned with what my father might be doing, about to do, or thinking of doing at toothbrushing time, and how I was to plan my actions based on these things... I only WISH I were kidding) that, if enforced, would have made it virtually impossible to brush my teeth without transgressing. She chose her favorite time to drop bombshells on me, right before I went to bed, to tell me this news... but she miscalculated the efficacy of that tactic on this occasion, because my grandmother was in the guest bedroom at the crucial moment, and when my mother gave her spiel as I was emerging from my bathroom, which was right next to that bedroom, it was overheard. For this story, my parents will be "Jane" and "John":

Mother: From now on, when it's time for you to brush your teeth, blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. (I've forgotten the actual speech-perhaps that's just as well.)

Grandma (emerging from guestroom): JANE!! Are you out of your mind?!! Why are you giving that child this ridiculous list of rules for brushing her teeth?

Mother (in the contemptuous tone reserved for immediate family members): Mother, nothing has changed.

Me: Oh? That means I don't have to do anything different.

Mother: Yes you do!! You have to blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah {etc}.

Me: Those things are all new, which means that EVERYTHING has changed.

Mother: No, nothing has changed.

Me (stubbornly clinging to logic): If nothing has changed, then I don't have to do anything different.

Mother: Yes you do!! You have to blah blah blah...

Grandma (interrupting): That's ENOUGH!! Why does this child always have to have a thousand rules for every little thing? A child doesn't need ANY rules about the brushing of teeth, so you just forget about all this nonsense.

Mother: Mother, John has decided that he doesn't like her going in there to brush her teeth, so this is necessary to...

Grandma: But Jane, this is NOT necessary; why do you let him get away with being so unreasonable?

Mother: He's going to get hysterical if she's in there when he wants her out, so this way that's avoided.

Grandma: Hysterical over WHAT, that the child needs to brush her teeth? That she needs to be in your room for a couple of minutes? That's crazy!! If you want her to use that toothbrush, you have to let her go in there when it's her bedtime and use it, and that's that; you don't need any of these rules.

Mother: Mother, he doesn't want her in the bedroom when he goes up there.

Grandma: WHY?

Mother: Look, all she has to do is blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah {etc}, and everything will be fine.

Grandma: No it won't-you can't let him dictate like this for such a trivial thing. You tell John that the child needs to brush her teeth, and he can just wait a couple of minutes for her to be done if he comes up right then, and that's the end of it.

Mother: He doesn't want her in the room...

Grandma: But Jane, she goes in there to watch TV, so what's the difference... what harm could she be doing, brushing her teeth?

Mother: Look, Mother, I've already handled this, so...

Grandma: No, I'm sorry, but you can NOT expect the child to remember and follow all these elaborate rules about the brushing of teeth; either she has to go in there and brush them, or you let her take the toothbrush into HER bathroom and bring it back, or else YOU can come upstairs and bring her the brush and take it back if you want to make a production out of it, but you can just forget about these rules.

As she always did the rare times she was thwarted by an adult family member, my mother muttered something unintelligible and dashed away.

The new rules were never enforced, or referred to again; more talk about the earthshatteringly important topic of my brushing my teeth in their bathroom was going on behind the scenes, however, because my mother eventually announced that, contrary to what she'd always claimed was an inarguable requirement, I was no longer going to be using the electric toothbrush... and no, she never used the obvious solution and bought me one of my own, not even as a "gift," because her cheapness was more powerful than her need to believe that my teeth were fully brushed.

The horrified reactions of other adults to the infinitely rule-bound universe my parents had created for me were part of what kept me sane, as they were PROOF of my gut feeling that my parents were far, FAR from normal; the all too rare times that an adult was present at a time when they could intervene directly on my behalf were indescribable in the sense of relief they gave me. Imagine how different my life would have been if I'd had relatives living nearby, such that there were ALWAYS other adults there to intercede when my parents got too psycho...


Friday, April 29, 2005

At LAST, disc 2 of the Nova program on strings 


The latest stunt being pulled by the @#$%^&* Blockbuster online rental service is that it's pretty much ignoring the order of the DVD's in the queue and picking at random from the available ones to send; their excuse for this is that it allows them to send those DVD's that their system thinks will reach you the quickest (yes, I ASKED), but that's a less important consideration than being able to see the DVD's you really WANT first, without having to delete all the other available ones and re-insert them after you've gotten the good ones... especially when you've seen disc 1 of a multi-disc set and end up having to wait a month and a half to get disc # 2!! GRRRRRRRRRR

On 3-10-05, I posted about having seen "the first 2 parts of a Nova program, 'The Elegant Universe,' which is dedicated to making string theory understandable to regular people," which were contained on disc 1; now, I've seen the 3rd and final part, and I've learned that:

1) The Einsteinian view of the universe wouldn't allow for wormholes, because it doesn't allow you to tear the "fabric of space" without causing a catastrophe; string theory, in a way they didn't make clear (they have to gloss over alot of stuff that only a theoretical physicist could understand), means that the strings make "tubes" as they move around, and these tubes would somehow encase tears that appear in space and keep them from leading to disaster.

2) NO ONE knows what the "M" in "M-theory" means, including the man who created it, physicist Ed Witten, who jokingly says that it could stand for "Magic, mystery, or matrix, according to taste." Witten demonstrated in 1995 that the alleged 5 different versions of string theory were in fact all just different ways of looking at the exact same thing, and thus that there's only ONE such theory; this is probably why the terms "M-theory" and "string theory" are used interchangeably.

3) The acceptance of M-theory means that 10 dimensions isn't enough; now, we need 11... I KNEW I'd seen both 10 and 11 being used for this topic, and thought maybe there were differing views-I'm glad this got cleared up. This added dimension allows for membranes, or "branes," to exist, which could be so huge that each one is an entire universe, hanging in a higher-dimensional space... and that's where we get the parallel universes. (Do you suppose that spirits might live in one of those "branes"? Are WE the spirits of beings from other branes? Could we move from brane to brane until we get back here, and that's what reincarnation is?)

4) Why does gravity seem so weak compared to all the other forces? It may be that gravity is just as strong as electromagnetism, but doesn't SEEM to be because, unlike the other forces, it might be able to leave our brane, dissipating our perception of it. They think this could be because the strings that make up everything else are open-ended in shape and are "tied down" to our brane, but that the strings of which gravity are made, called "gravitons," are closed circles, and thus NOT tied down and so able to leave the brane. (Would souls be made of closed-circle strings too, then, or are they tied forever to our brane?)

5) The hunt is on for supersymmetry, a central prediction of string theory that says that for every familiar subatomic particle there should exist a much heavier partner called a "sparticle"; the assumption is that they'd be so heavy that they probably couldn't be detected with today's atom smashers, and that's supposedly why they've found no evidence for them yet... which has a little bit of the feel of phlogiston (the non-existent material once believed to be contained in every substance that burned) to me, frankly, but time will tell. The belief that supersymmetry exists was necessary to bring the # of dimensions of string theory down from 26 to 10 (and now 11), and the inclusion of this concept led to the name "SUPERstring theory," which is used interchangeably with "string theory" because they're not looking at the original, non-super ("bosonic") version anymore... although maybe they SHOULD (if they could clear up the tachyon and fermion problems with the original theory some other way), and not be afraid of a huge # of dimensions, which don't seem any worse than new, unseen heavy particles... unless maybe sparticles are dark matter? I just looked it up, and this HAS been thought of... but *I* made the connection withOUT a PhD in theoretical physics. :-)

This Nova series gets the 2 thumbs up from me, and has given me much to think about, especially this new open/closed string idea, which I'm now going to use to try to guess the forms of the various "hidden" kinds of karma. Do you think that closed strings might be able to move around in the "time dimension" in ways we've never thought of, and in particular be responsible for precognition? hmmmmmmmmmmmm


Thursday, April 28, 2005

Do you need a dream? 


How about a goal? Or a plan?

Nope.

From the time we're little kids, people are always telling us that we DO need one or the other of these things, because... well, the because is always a little vague, which is a sure sign of a lack of logic to what's being said.

Let's start with the dream; this is supposed to be some BIG thing that you'd like to have, so big that it's presumably beyond your ability to achieve without a miracle, whether it's to live on a luxury yacht, marry a famous hottie, or have a platinum album. I'm all for fantasizing, but why would you HAVE to have ONE such fantasy that's the "official dream"? What benefit does that get you? If your life is so grim that you need a dream to keep you going, I suggest that you stop dreaming and change your life... and in the meantime, have MANY dreams to cheer yourself up-there's nothing magic about having ONE.

A goal, in contrast to a dream, is something beyond what you currently have that you CAN possibly achieve; it's supposed to be something very specific, AND you're supposed to have a specific time frame within which to achieve it (otherwise, it's a fantasy, NOT a goal). It's certainly admirable to want to better yourself or your life, but what does setting a goal get you that you wouldn't have had otherwise? If you do your best at work, for example, that gets you what it gets you when it's available; having a GOAL to get a promotion and/or raise doesn't alter the opinion the higher-ups have of your work, and so doesn't get you those things any faster, or make you more likely to get them at all. It's the same with ANY goal, whether it's to lose weight, save up for a trip, or whatever; all you have to do is do the work, and you'll get where you want to be withOUT having set an actual goal.

What about those people who say that if they don't have that end of the time period that's part of the goal looming over them, they can't keep their motivation up, won't work hard enough, won't make it a priority? To them I say; if something isn't important enough to you that you'll automatically do what it takes to get it in the shortest possible (reasonable) time frame, why bother making a goal about that particular thing? Why not just focus that time and effort on what DOES matter to you?

But what about those that say that if a thing is hard to achieve, playing a mind-game with themselves with a usually-arbitrary time frame (no, they don't use those exact words, but that's what it boils down to) makes them achieve more, more quickly? To them I say; one of the most important life skills is the ability to decide what needs to be done and just DO it, no matter what's going on to distract or tempt you, no matter what you feel, and no matter how hard it is. It used to be that EVERY adult had this ability as a matter of course, so it can't be that hard; just because we've become weak and wimpy compared to earlier generations does NOT mean that we can't still gain that ability, or even that we can make any valid excuse for not having it. If you choose, CHOOSE, to have that sort of dedication to what needs to be done, you can do it; if you decline to make that choice, then you'll spend the rest of your life trying to "trick" yourself into getting things done with goal-setting... and, if you're like most people, failing much of the time.

And that's another problem with goal-setting; it can set you up for failure. If the time frame you choose is less than the time you actually need to get from point A to point B, you'll feel like a failure even though you've in fact made as much progress as you could during that length of time, and so should feel like a success. If you set the goal too FAR in the future, and are using the goal time to motivate you, you'll pace yourself too slowly, because you're going for the goal rather than for making maximum progress, and so will get to point B LATER than you would have if you'd just worked hard with no specific goal. AND, if the goal is something that you can't reach directly, but must depend on the judgment of others for, such as a promotion, getting a record deal, or being allowed to buy an apartment in a fashionable co-op building, you're setting yourself up for extra disappointment if you pretend that you can make it happen by your actions and then don't get it.

And finally, there's the ever more popular concept with the self-styled experts on how we should live our lives; the plan. The usage in this case is that a plan is a description of where you want to be in all areas of your life at various points in the future, which can be as little as a few months away or DECADES away. If someone exists who was able to make such descriptions, and then ended up actually living their life as described when they got there, especially for the longer-term plans, I'd sure like to meet them; I don't know ANYONE whose life turned out like they thought it would no matter WHAT they planned it to be like, and I include myself in that statement... I could NEVER have envisioned my current life at any time earlier on.

Some people will tell you that you "can't" get anywhere in life without dreams, goals and plans; I'm here to tell you that it just ain't so, and *I* am living proof of that. I've gotten everything I could have ever asked out of life and more, more than not just my peers have at this point but more than most people far older than I am have too... and I did it withOUT having a dream, goal or plan, EVER. If there are things YOU want out of life that you haven't got now, and that are within your ability to get, don't DREAM of getting those things, don't set a GOAL to get them, don't PLAN to get them... choose, CHOOSE, to start taking the necessary steps, making the necessary effort, and devoting the necessary time to get you to those things. Forget the mind games that make you feel like you've done something when you haven't; TAKE ACTION... that's what our forebears did to get things done, and it's still all you need to achieve whatever's within your grasp today.


Wednesday, April 27, 2005

"Fashiontrance" 


No, that's not a typo, it's the name of my new favorite show, courtesy of one of the many new channels I got with digital cable, Style Network:

http://www.stylenetwork.com/Shows/Fashiontrance/

We're so obsessed with the trashy and the trendy in this country that there aren't many places to see actual FASHION, in fact I mostly only see the good stuff in Vogue (which will only give a few selected looks from any show it covers, but is FAR better than nothing), so ANY fashion-themed TV show is going to be interesting to me; the problem with fashion TV, though, is that usually it's just a few precious minutes of actual looking at models on the runway, overlaid with the ceaseless yapping of the host, and the rest of it is interview clips with models, journalists, and random people who were at the shows babbling about what they saw... it's MADDENING. "Fashiontrance" was therefore a revelation to me; there was an opening graphic sequence with the name of the show, then, to the tune of low-key techno music, they started showing the first designer's runway show... and showed it... and showed it!! No cutting away after 5 seconds to show interviews, no host talking over it, just the models stomping up and down the runway one after the other, showing, probably not the entire collection of any of the designers, but a whole bunch of looks, with the only distraction being little bits of trivia showing up in text boxes, which was unnecessary and a tad disconcerting but really a small price to pay for being able to spend an entire hour looking at cutting-edge clothes.

How did they come up with an idea like this, to just show something going on with no commentary... I mean, for other than a porn movie? Who had the balls/ovaries to stand up and say, "Let's make an hour-long show with nothing but footage from the collections and a soundtrack?". Whoever thought of it, my hat's off to you (or would be if I HAD a hat); I sat here with my mouth hanging open, salivating madly (yeah, it got messy, lol) over fab outfit after fab outfit... it was by far my best fashion experience to date.

As always, there was some stuff that was creative but unwearable (sometimes even by the models), some of it was too basic to really count as fashion, and some of it was weird, clunky and ugly... but most of it was GREAT, especially the offerings of Donatella Versace and David Rodriguez. The coolest stuff I saw included: a long red dress trimmed with black leather, with gloves and knee-high boots also of black leather, jackets with long sleeves slit to the elbows, chic suits with just-below-the-elbow sleeves worn with long leather gloves, dresses with little slashes all over that from a distance looked like the cloth was patterned, dresses with the upper parts made of glittering embroidered mesh, a long red dress with a bunch of small flounces from the knee down that fluttered seductively with each step... ahhhhhhhh, it was a lovely show. :-)


Tuesday, April 26, 2005

The sexuality of doctors 


Why do we believe that doctors never have sexual feelings for even the most gorgeous patients that they're seeing totally naked and touching in intimate ways?

WHY?

Can YOU turn your sexual feelings totally off, or even PARTIALLY off, like flipping a switch? No? Then why do we all believe that DOCTORS can do so, other than that we WANT to believe that because we have no choice but to endure being examined by them? Are doctors not human? What exactly do we convince ourselves that they do to doctors to make this magic possible for them? Are they brainwashed, or hypnotized, or subjected to some sort of treatment that's kept a secret from all non-doctors that allows them to not have the normal and very powerful biological reaction everyone else has to the presence of, not to mention physical contact with, a gorgeous person of their gender(s) of preference? If we can't come up with a procedure by which they'd learn to shut off their sexual feelings (and why do we assume they'd all WANT to do so, when doctors are no more pure and virtuous than the rest of us?), what reason is there to assume that such a procedure exists?

Granted, the mere fact that a doctor will see countless naked people, most of whom are FAR from attractive, will eliminate the ridiculous over-reaction we in this culture have to nudity because we so rarely see it in person other than with our lovers... EVENTUALLY. Do you honestly think that the first time a horny young male intern sees a naked woman who isn't either very old or very ugly, he feels NOTHING? For all that women are less visually stimulated (supposedly) on the average than men, I'm betting that female interns have some significant non-doctorish feelings as well... how can they NOT? They SAY they don't, and we hold doctors, even wet-behind-the-ears ones, in such high esteem, since they literally have the power of life and death over us, that we believe them... but we shouldn't, especially since, despite the existence of patients MOLESTED by doctors, the medical profession never admits that ANY doctor might fail to have achieved this perfectly non-sexual attitude towards patients by the time they graduate medical school, or, having gained it, ever have a lapse under any circumstances. Since even we non-doctors are all perfectly aware that it's not POSSIBLE for people to be given such perfect programming about ANYTHING, much less concerning the most powerful drive in the human body, we have to realize something else here; not only are their claims wrong, they're being knowingly dishonest, not to mention somewhat contemptuous of US (not an unfamiliar attitude from doctors, sadly)... and the fact that they ARE undoubtedly doing it to make patients feel less uncomfortable as well as to make themselves look more godlike doesn't change the reality of it.

Is it possible for doctors to ever get to the point of having NO reaction to the nudity of average people? Sure. People in so-called "primitive" cultures where nudity is an everyday thing do NOT go around having "woohoo baby" reactions to every non-ugly body they see, so I think we CAN assume that doctors of both genders DO reach the point that most nudity is a matter of indifference to them; I maintain, though, that the likelihood that they could ever, EVER, have a hottie of whatever type would make their hormones surge under any other circumstances walk into their office and have NO sexual response to them at all just because they're a patient, especially once they're naked, is... ZERO. They undoubtedly learn to hide it, suppress it, fight it, and ignore it to some extent, but gain the ability to turn their sexual feelings totally OFF... and then turn them ON at the end of the day when they go home to their partners, let's not forget THAT part of the myth... not a chance.

In the not so long ago days, all doctors were men, and all presumed to be straight; men as a rule have no problem with being seen nude by other men, so they had no worries about doctors, and women would have been seeing male doctors their entire lives, and so were used to it and accepted it. Once women started becoming doctors on more than a one in a million basis, though, there was a choice, and people started thinking; plenty of men decided they were totally unwilling to be examined by a woman, and there's hardly a one who wouldn't be at least a little bit uncomfortable about it (which was the end of people being automatically willing to go to opposite-sex doctors), and many women decided that they prefer to see a female doctor, or even insist on it... don't you suppose that the issue of the possible sexual feelings of the doctors was part of these decisions, if only on a subconscious level? If your answer to that is "no," ask yourself this, and maybe ask some friends of both genders for a broader perspective; would you be willing to go to a doctor of your gender who was GAY? Anyone who answers "no" to THAT question, or has any hesitation at all (which most people will), and doesn't have some sort of fear or hatred of gays, can ONLY be responding to the idea that the doctor might look at them in a sexual manner... proof that folks are finally wising up to the idea that getting handed a diploma from a medical school does NOT radically alter a person's biological nature, and that we've been a little too quick to believe that doctors turn their sexualities off like light bulbs when they see us naked.


Monday, April 25, 2005

"Let peace be your umpire" 


That dazzling quote comes courtesy of Joel Osteen; what he means by it is that God will give you a feeling of peace if you're making the best choices, and you can use that feeling, or its lack, to tell you whether or not you're doing the right thing. In his sermon tonight, he described how you'll get some sort of bad feeling when you're about to do or decide something that's, not even necessarily detrimental, but even sub-optimal; he asserts that God wants you to make the best possible choice for every occasion, and will thus use feelings of peace, and of unease, to direct you to the ideal path... all you have to do is consult your feelings and obey their meanings.

I don't believe in God (nor do I DISbelieve in Him), and I've seen no evidence that anyone always makes the perfect choices when viewed with hindsight, but I've certainly had what most people would call "gut feelings" about things in advance, feelings not based on or backed up by the facts as I knew them, but which turned out to be accurate; many people have these feelings at least some of the time, and, although I think they're often based on subliminal clues we've picked up from people involved in whatever we're doing, there are also plenty of times that the feelings come seemingly out of a clear blue sky... and they're in effect a form of precognition, as they constitute knowing in advance whether something would turn out well or badly, or even for the best or 2nd-best.

I'm fascinated that, once again, Osteen has preached about something that's not in line with the teachings of traditional Christianity, but perfectly in line with my concept of how the engine of karma works; yes, he attributes everything to God, but he's clearly describing personal experience of how the universe actually works (and he almost always DOES use an example from his own life) and forcing it into the mold of his religion rather than making the all-important step of just accepting that the energies he perceives at work are what's definitely real, not his deity (who might in theory be the creator of karma, but there's no proof of that), and that there's no need to add an extra layer of explanation for what he perceives... not surprising for a man who's a pastor and the son of a pastor.

I'm such a high-strung and anxious person, programmed by my mother to not just envision but EXPECT worst-case scenarios, that I don't think I'd have much luck searching my emotions for feelings of unease from an external source as part of my decision-making process, but I'll try to notice if I'm getting any actual "at peace" feelings when I DON'T feel any anxiety; if this sort of low-grade precognition IS going on on a regular basis, that'd probably say something about the nature of time and of karma... I dunno what yet, but it'll be intriguing to contemplate.


Sunday, April 24, 2005

Non-blog blogging trends 


If you spend alot of time hitting the "next blog" button like I do, you've probably noticed that there are an increasing # of blogs that are totally at odds with the whole concept of blogging:

First, there are the "blogs" that... let's just say that if there was such a thing as a spam blog, these wastes of space would qualify. You know the ones I mean; the commercial "blogs," in which the "posts" are either advertisements or URL's to where a specific category of things can be purchased. Mortgage loans and insurance make up the content of the lion's share of these "blogs," but I've seen plenty for vacation packages, contact lenses, jewelry, investments, and LAWYERS; can you imagine anyone choosing a lawyer from a one-line post promising to get them reimbursement for... anything? Also in this category are the porn "blogs," most of which are only "teasers" for PAY sites, that assault your unsuspecting eyes with graphic images; just what the parents of blogging teens want their kids stumbling onto. Not only are these sites fundamentally worthless, you can't really call them blogs even though the info they provide IS put forth in a series of posts rather than arranged in a more traditional website layout, because ads and porn pics have nothing to do with what blogging's about.

Then, there are an amazing # of blogs used by teachers and professors to pass info or assignments to their students, and even to have them post their homework on; I've also seen a slew of blogs that individual students use to post their homework on. I'm as pleased as anyone else when any sort of technology is used to facilitate education, but what has that got to do with blogging? It's almost as impersonal as the advertising sites, really.

Lastly, there are some that you WON'T find via the "next blog" button, because they all have their own domains; nearly all of the biggest blogs, the ones that get tens or hundreds of thousands of hits per DAY, the ones that get quoted on CNN, center on politics. I think that those bloggers often provide a useful service by collecting information, perhaps analyzing it, and usually giving people a forum to discuss it, but that's not really blogging, any more than, say, being a newscaster is acting, although both newscasters and actors appear on TV shows and read lines written by other people in the way they're told to read them. (Note; this is NOT meant to apply to the NON-gigantic political blogs, which generally are done in a way that gives you the feeling of talking politics with a person rather than reading a newspaper column, and thus ARE blogs in the truest sense.)

Blogging was originally a way for folks to give whoever might be curious a glimpse into their lives, their interests, their heads, even their hearts, in other words a way for them to share of themselves with others; if you check through the various online dictionaries, some of them very specifically define blogs to be about people's lives, hobbies, and thoughts. I'm sure most of us would agree that, now that blogging has evolved and spread to all sorts of people, that definition is narrower than it should be, because there are lots of things that people like to share with others that aren't really "personal," and thus there are many terrific blogs featuring unusual stuff in the news, cool things to do online, discussions of topics and ideas, poking fun at celebs, and the like, rather than being specifically focused on the personal, but does that mean that EVERYTHING has to be squeezed into a blog format, or called a blog just because it follows that most basic form, that of having dated entries, but isn't following the substance, the SPIRIT, of blogging?

The blogosphere is currently fashionable, even faddish; eventually, though, the majority of people will tire of the idea that every single person is supposed to have a site that's meant to have regular entries, which is alot of work, and will go back to having basic websites with whatever they think is important to say about themselves that they can create and then mostly ignore, or just give up entirely the idea that everyone has to have a URL of a site that's theirs to give to people, and move onto the next online fad... sharing cellphone videos, maybe? When that happens, I hope there are still plenty of people who want to post about their favorite and least favorite things, pass along useful or entertaining bits of info, review the movies they go to and the CD's they buy, share their art, poetry, opinions, favorite jokes, stories and recipes, post the URL's to helpful sites, describe what they bought at the mall or even at the grocery store, analyze their dreams, dish about their relationships, post pics of their kids, pets and gardens, rant on about whatever's most important to them, reveal what's going on in their day to day existence and in their minds, and otherwise give us access to the stuff that normally only their friends and the other people in their lives get to enjoy, because that, THAT, is real blogging... one of the coolest things that the internet has ever given us.


Saturday, April 23, 2005

Food wars 


I'll preface this post by explaining that 95% of the food in my house is for my husband's consumption, as he eats the equivalent of a dozen meals a day; because *I* have just one small meal and one tiny snack per day, and because there are only a few foods I eat, the 5% that was purchased for MY consumption is officially "sacred," NOT to be touched by my husband other than when he's preparing dinner for me... and he's agreed to this willingly, by the way, because he knows that if he just ate indiscriminately we'd have daily problems with my not having the makings for meals or snacks despite having enough food overall to feed 50 people, and it's not fair for me to live my life such that, no matter how much food I have, it'd never be enough for me to still have any of it by my next mealtime.

There's never any reason, or any EXCUSE, for my husband to eat any of my food... NEVER. He agrees-how could he not? Nevertheless:

He eats a wide variety of foods, but the things he likes best are MINE; foods that he has NEVER, in all the years I've know him, bought for himself suddenly become life or death for him to consume once *I* get them. Not being overly troubled by ethical considerations, he takes great joy in sneaking around and stealing my food, telling himself that he'll replace it before I notice (as if that somehow made it ok), or that he'll take so little that I won't be able to tell. He claims to have gotten away with this many times, but the man who sucks up half a container of Cool Whip in the middle of the night, and then replaces it with a full one with the tamper-proof seal still on it, not grasping that this would be a dead giveaway, or leaves the wrappers from my food on the counter, when *I* NEVER do that, or puts the food back in a different place, or fails to pack it back up properly, or, most commonly, simply fails to follow through with replacing what he took before I want that food item, has had no luck convincing me that he's EVER gotten away with it.

His main problem in his quest to be a successful food thief is that, because HE doesn't notice or remember anything, he can't judge what *I* might or might not notice or remember; almost as good as the Cool Whip example (and he's tried that one SEVERAL times, because he just doesn't learn, lol) was when I had a big box of granola that I'd opened one day just to get a few pieces to round out a snack, and the next day I opened the box and all there was in it was a little bit of dust at the bottom of the bag... at which point he tried, repeatedly and vehemently, to convince me that I just didn't remember what I'd eaten, because he hadn't had ANY granola... then he admitted he "might have had a few little pieces"... and then eventually admitted that maybe he'd grabbed a handful... and then a few handfuls... and never did admit to having wiped out the entire box in one night, although he had no explanation for how the large amount of granola he tried to claim was still there once he stopped eating it vanished before I woke up.

He seems to be utterly incapable of grasping that, if he takes even ONE mouthful of any food of mine, he'll be unable to stop himself from taking more and more until it's totally impossible for me to NOT notice that he's helped himself; this goes double when he eats ALL of a given thing, of course, and, although he's always promising himself that he'll get up early, go to the store, and replace the item before I have a chance to look for it, he rarely keeps those promises... and can't seem to REMEMBER that there's almost no chance of him keeping such a promise when the moment comes that he's reaching for my food and having fantasies of how he'll get away with. A recent example was a 2 lb container of fruit salad purchased for me to have as the bulk of my dinner the next day; he started off allegedly planning to have "just one forkful," but when I went to the kitchen the next day it was ALL gone, and, although he'd been up for a couple of hours at that point, and the empty container was sitting out in plain view on the counter where he was seeing it every time he went to get food, he had NOT replaced it... although I made him do so in time for my dinner, of course.

The fruit salad debacle was an example of one of his most wrong-headed ideas; he thinks that he possesses the mystical ability to know in advance how much of a given perishable food item I'm going to want to eat, and thus can calculate before I've had a single bite how much is eventually going to be left over... and thus, in his mind, when he's scarfing down something set aside for one of my meals, by his twisted logic he's actually eating LEFTOVERS, which is a perfectly acceptable thing in general for him to do, and thus he's doing nothing wrong by spurning all of his HUNDREDS of food options to vacuum up MY dinner.

Sometimes, he'll use a different ploy to handle his desire for my food; he'll get some of whatever food of mine he's unable to keep his hands off of for himself, so that he can, in theory, have some without depleting MY food stores. The reality is that this always results in one of 2 undesirable outcomes:

1) Once he has some that he's officially allowed to eat, he loses all interest in it, and it sits around until it goes bad and has to be thrown out (the flip side of the forbidden fruit effect).

2) He'll eat his portion in a nonstop frenzy until all that's left is MINE... and then he eats it.

The most extreme example of the 2nd option was with a kind of microwave noodle dish that I liked; he'd literally buy TWENTY packages of it, and then, when I wanted some a few days later, guess what... it was ALL gone, including the ones set aside for me. When asked why he was eating such an insane amount of one thing, and why, when he finished off his, he went right to mine, and didn't replace it or even mention that he'd done it so that I could make sure that more was bought BEFORE I needed it for a meal, he gave his standard reply; "I don't know."

He often tries to excuse his behavior by petulantly pointing out that there's more of whatever he polished off in the stores, and so it's not like I won't ever have any of that item again, as if the replaceability of the food made it ok to take it; sadly, in the case of those tasty noodles, after one particular huge batch was bought and consumed without me getting a single package, it turned out that it had vanished from the stores, because, astoundingly, they'd stopped making it... and he was stuck going to every grocery store in the city looking for any final boxes of it, and then having to face me and admit that he'd cheated me out of my last chance to EVER eat it.

Another ploy of his is to get a different version of whatever I'm eating, such as veggie eggrolls when mine are pork, so that he's sort of having my food but not risking wiping it out because what he's actually eating isn't mine. The grim possible results of this procedure are:

1) When he's out of his version, he switches seamlessly to mine, and then "forgets" he did so, and thus doesn't replace either his or mine.

2) He eats mine rather than his, so that he allegedly thinks I still have mine, and we don't find out to the contrary until dinnertime, when he says, "Gee, I was SURE we still had some of YOURS, but this is MINE, so... uh..."

3) He eats mine, fails to notice, and then prepares some of his for me, thinking it's mine, despite the fact that it's generally glaringly obvious that what he's making can't POSSIBLY be something I'd eat... and there I am, ready for dinner, with part of my meal being something I can't consume.

The latest and greatest food battle is over the stupidest possible food item; Pop Tarts. His first angle was to try to claim that I just wasn't remembering how many packets I'd had left, but with only 4 per box that's hard to sell even if I wasn't 100% sure what I had, so he gave it up. Next, he started buying secret boxes and hiding them in his study, from which he extracted packets to put back in MY boxes, as he knew I'd notice either a depleted box or a new box where there'd been an open one; if you're wondering why he didn't just buy boxes for himself in advance and eat THEM, you're not grasping the mindset involved. Finally, I demanded that he buy his own boxes, and we've had a repeat of the noodle game ever since then-no matter how many he gets for himself, he rips through them and then turns to mine. He tried eating from boxes of mine that I hadn't gotten to yet, but of course I noticed that more boxes were open than should be, and he was caught instantly. Then, he started opening the boxes from underneath and helping himself, with the idea being that old one of how he's going to bring in new boxes to replace them before I finish my current box and reach for one of the "compromised" ones; I've begun lifting and checking every box of mine every day, though, so he can no longer have days of leeway before he gets caught. And last but far from least, his most extreme trick ever; he GLUED the flaps back together on a box he'd violated, assuming, correctly as it turned out, that I wouldn't notice that the box was too light right away, giving him more time before he was caught... as you might imagine, I'm paying careful attention to the weights of the boxes now.

This man who managed to eat breakfast for nearly 4 decades without Pop Tarts now claims that nothing else exists in the world that he can eat before work; when asked what he used to eat BEFORE he started in with the Pop Tarts, he replies, "I don't know." He managed to stuff his face while I'm asleep all the previous years of our marriage without having Pop Tarts, but now he insists there's nothing else in the world he CAN eat without waking me; when asked what he USED to eat while I was asleep, he says... do I even need to say it, lol?

I don't know how many Pop Tarts he's eating per day now; he buys more several times a week, and that's just the ones I'm seeing. When he got sick recently, he announced that the ONLY thing he could eat was Pop Tarts. He got to the point where he'd eaten so many that he bought some blueberry ones for variety; that's actually by far his favorite flavor, but because *I* don't eat those, they don't have the same appeal to him as the "red flavors" that I get, so normally he doesn't eat them. And finally; twice recently, when I discovered that he'd wiped out my backup boxes and it'd be a couple of days before a grocery store trip was feasible, I had to HIDE the remaining Pop Tarts to make sure that *I* had them until the replacements were purchased.

His absolute worst transgression, though, would have to be with the big can of nuts that had been purchased to provide us with something to eat other than carb junk foods for a day of travel: The night before, I happened to look into the kitchen with the right timing to see him taking some little bits of food from an unseen package in the cupboard; although it didn't seem POSSIBLE that he'd have picked the one thing that was between us and a very hungry day to snack on, I checked out of habit, and, yes, he WAS eating the nuts. When accused, he snippily replied that all he'd had were a couple of nuts; a check of the package revealed that he'd eaten HALF of that big can... and, if he hadn't been caught, I'd have found an EMPTY can when I got up the next morning to do the final frenzied packing for the trip, although of course he tried to claim, despite having been caught in a lie as to how much he'd already eaten, that what I'd seen him take was, by magical coincidence, the very last nuts he intended to eat, and that, despite obviously acting compulsively, since he'd eaten FAR past the point where I could be fooled into thinking he hadn't taken any, or had only had a few, he was suddenly going to gain self-control and stop BEFORE he got to the bottom of the jar. Yeah, right. Absolutely LIVID that he'd pulled this stunt under circumstances when I'd have REALLY been screwed by his greediness, I informed him that, since he'd already eaten his half of the nuts, there would be none for him the next day, and that none of the other snacks I was packing would be shared with him either... and yes, I stuck to that.

Why do I let him live? Because I know that I could go right down the hall this very minute, when it's nearly 4AM and he's sound asleep, wake him up and announce that I HAD to have a milk shake (or whatever), and he'd get up, get dressed, and drive all over town until he found an all-night fast food place where he could get me one. For all that I believe that he could, and should, make more of an effort to fight his weaknesses and compulsions, his willingness to "serve" me in ways that few men would ever contemplate doing for any woman balances it out.

Most of the time.


Friday, April 22, 2005

Whatever happened to safe sex? 


Do you remember when you couldn't read an article or watch a TV show without hearing about safe sex? Actually, towards the end of that era, it was being referred to, more correctly, as "safER sex," because condoms slip and break and are therefore NOT total protection... when's the last time you heard THAT term? AIDS is still very much with us, particularly threatening young people and minority women, and there are still diseases like herpes and genital warts that have no cure, a laundry-list of forms of hepatitis, some of which are brutal, and plenty of traditional STD's that can mess with you in a variety of ways if left untreated... so why don't we hear anything about the need to be safe any more? Are we out of our MINDS?

When surveys show that as high as 65%-75% of people are cheaters, why is it always said that you can stop using condoms in an established, allegedly monogamous relationship?

When's the last time you saw any reference to using condoms and dental dams during oral sex? You CAN still transmit the full spectrum of diseases, including AIDS, during oral sex... and we're hearing more and more about teens, who are at increasingly high risk of contracting AIDS, having oral sex parties, a common theme of which is to have the girls put on different colors of lipstick and leave lipstick prints of all the colors on every boy's penis, which presupposes that they are NOT wearing condoms (that the girls are willing to give serial blowjobs when they're getting nothing in return is a whole other rant).

There was a time when you could get flavored condoms, which are meant to facilitate safer fellatio, everywhere; now, you'll probably have to go to an adult bookstore to find them, and I don't know where you could find a dental dam outside of stores that cater to the gay community.

Condom ads used to be common; when's the last time you saw one?

You see sex scenes in nearly every movie and TV show; what % of them show condom use, much less adherence to any of the other safe sex guidelines? The only one I can think of is "Queer as Folk," which is fanatical about showing condoms being used for every act of intercourse, but, sadly, NOT for oral sex of the various kinds portrayed... some of which would require dental dams, which to the best of my memory have never even been mentioned on the show, even though some of the oral sex is of the risky anal variety.

Every trivial detail of celebrities' lives are shoved in our faces in every newscast and periodical, but the fact that a long list of grim sexually transmitted diseases are spreading by leaps and bounds isn't seen as worthy of a mention anywhere. How many kids who are too young to have been paying attention when the necessary info was readily available, or who weren't even born then, are going to DIE because the American people got tired of hearing about safe sex?


Thursday, April 21, 2005

An insight into men 


We hear that men like to pursue women in the dating arena, and are put off by women usurping that role. We hear that men are tired of doing all the pursuing, and taking all the rejection risk, and want women to take the initiative. These things can't BOTH be true of men in general, so we're left with a confusing and contradictory situation with different "experts" giving women advice based on opposing concepts of male preferences, with each side giving logical and persuasive arguments for why men supposedly feel whichever way they think men feel, with neither side ever admitting that there's GOT to be something to what the other side says based on what men are saying and people's real-life experiences. Last month's Cosmo has provided me with another eye-opener, from a question answered in their "Ask Him Anything" column, located online here:

http://magazines.ivillage.com/cosmopolitan/experts/askhim/qas/0,,666475_668392,00.html

To save you having to bring up another window, I've copied it all here:


Q: "Be honest: How do guys really feel about being asked out by a girl?"

A: "Ask any guy if he likes a woman to make the first move, and he'll tell you, "Hell, yeah!" That's not entirely true though. Something happens in the male mind when this sort of hypothetical is posed: We all assume the girl in question is a scorchingly sexy centerfold type who's never done anything like this...until now. But when this scenario plays out in the real world, most men can't help feeling slightly uncomfortable.

Don't get me wrong: We're flattered that you asked. But at the same time, we question why you had to. A guy would like to think you're the hottest thing on the market since Jennifer Aniston became single again. In other words, you should be so desirable that you don't have to ask for a date, because your waiting list is already too long.

Now this doesn't mean you have to sit back, painting your toenails and hoping for a text message from him. Use a more subtly suggestive approach to make it seem as if it were his brilliant idea. Try something like, "So, what are you up to this weekend?" or "We should grab a drink one of these days." If he's the least bit into you and not a freakin' moron, he'll most likely take the bait."


Finally, an explanation that ties the conflicting claims together; men are saying they want one thing while in fact wanting another, or at least believing they want another... just as they're always accusing women of doing, lol. So, both genders are human-imagine that.

The bottom line is that men are biologically programmed to be the pursuers (they're bigger and stronger, so it wouldn't work too well the other way), and, although they might get frustrated if they've been rejected alot recently, and so complain that women aren't taking equal risks, and although they might mouth the PC idea of women doing 50% of the initiation in dating (and sex), and although there might be some shy or badly "burned" guys who want and need women to do the work, men in general LIKE to do things the "biological" way, LIKE to see themselves as the intrepid hunters, seeking out and "conquering" the most desirable women, because it makes them feel virile and studly... and because it gives them the ILLUSION of control. ;-)

Ladies, few men will admit to this, but normally they consider EVERY woman they encounter who isn't freakishly ugly in a sexual light; if a guy you know hasn't asked you out, it's because his sexual perusal of you didn't float his boat enough (or he's too scared to, in which case he's not necessarily a good bet for you to get involved with). You can often circumvent that problem by contriving to be around him alot, as we're all biologically programmed to focus sexually on people around us, for the obvious reason; this is why people so often cheat with someone they know well rather than an attractive stranger. If being around him more isn't feasible, or doesn't work, and you STILL want him, be aware that he's probably not stupid enough to not notice that you're trying to maneuver him into a dating situation if you "casually" ask about his weekend plans, but if you're sure he's single, and seems to not actively dislike you, AND isn't insanely busy, it's ok to mention having football tickets or whatever; he may well go along with it for lack of anything better to do, and if he doesn't at least you'll be through with him and can move on to a man who actually wants you. If you know him well enough to be questioning him about his social schedule, though, there's a better trick to use; ask him if he might be able to come over and help you change your oil, put up shelves, or any other suitably "manly" task... and tell him you'll have beer for him and will order a pizza. Once you've got him alone in your home, and having demonstrated his prowess to you and feeling like your hero... I'm sure you can take it from there.


Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Revlon embraces non-standard beauty 


I'm belatedly reading last month's Cosmo, and I saw this ad, for Revlon's new mascara, "Fabulash":

http://www.revlon.com/flash/dr/main.asp?ad=fabulash

Can you see what's unusual about the model, actress Kate Bosworth (don't feel bad if you don't know who she is, I didn't either)? It's not as obvious in this small pic as it is in the magazine ad, but if you're looking for it you can't miss it; her eyes are different colors. Would you have imagined that any company would EVER use a woman with such an atypical feature to advertise ANYTHING, much less a variety of eye makeup?

I was flipping rapidly through the advertising pages, but this pic brought me to a halt and just floored me; I was so entranced that I looked Ms. Bosworth up to try to find more pics of her, to see if those were her real eyes and not some sort of printing error... and they ARE real:

http://www.tccandler.com/images/actresses/Kate_Bosworth_Perfect_Face.jpg

http://www.tccandler.com/images/actresses/kate_bosworth_face.jpg

Aren't her eyes utterly GORGEOUS? I'm sure she got teased as a child, despite her overall beauty, because this is such a rare variation, but I'm glad she doesn't wear colored contacts to create matching eyes and look "normal" because of that; I think this unexpected element makes her into a rare beauty.

The various articles about her describe the anomalous eye as "hazel," but in fact the full-page ad shows that the upper half of the iris is the same grayish blue as her other eye, and the bottom half is what can only be described as orange, close to the color of rust; this means that she has heterochromia iridis (multiple colors within a single iris) as well as heterochromia iridium (eyes that are 2 different colors)... you can read about those 2 things on the Scientific American website, here:

http://www.sciam.com/askexpert_question.cfm?articleID=00015D35-7293-1C71-9EB7809EC588F2D7&catID=3&topicID=12

Revlon was VERY shrewd in their choice of model; I'm sure that many other women do the rapid flip-through of the ads in magazines, but this ad really grabs the attention and virtually guarantees that you'll sit there looking at it... and, more than likely, at the facing page, which shows the product. You'll remember the ad, and thus the product, maybe you'll mention it to other people, as I'm doing, and, most importantly, if you're a mascara wearer, the next time you need to buy some, the Revlon version may very likely pop into your mind, greatly increasing the chances that you'll buy their product rather than one of the other brands.

Bravo Revlon!! :-)


Tuesday, April 19, 2005

How to bid on eBay 


It seems simple enough, but I see even established eBayers (as indicated by their feedback #'s) doing the stupidest things, so here are a few basic hints:

1) Decide how much the item is worth to you, the absolute MOST you'd be willing to pay, and bid that amount and ONLY that amount; don't sit there making bid after bid, a dollar at a time, until you're ahead or the auction ends on you... when eBay says they'll only bid you up to the amount you need to win, NOT to the upper limit of your bid unless other bids around that high make it necessary, they're NOT joking, honest.

2) Don't bid on an item as soon as you decide you want it; do it as close to the end of the auction as you possibly can, because other eBayers take the # of existing bids, and the current bid amount, into account when deciding how much THEY want to offer, and, if their bid doesn't put them in the lead, will often increase it until they until they ARE winning... which translates to higher prices paid at best, and auctions lost at worst, for YOU. Bid far enough in advance that if your computer crashes right as you're doing it you have enough time to bring it back up and return to the auction page before it's over, but no earlier; unless you're on really slow dialup, a few minutes should be plenty.

3) People almost always bid in round dollar amounts, so:

a) Don't be a wise guy and bid $19.95 on something, or you'll lose to someone who bids $20... why get stuck having to try for an item again just because you might save 5¢?

b) Here's the one that seems so obvious, but that few people do; instead of bidding the exact dollar amount, bid a penny more. I've had some very satisfying wins by 1¢... not just from getting something cool, but from imagining their faces when they saw how they lost, hehehehehe.

4) This one's almost too pitiful to say, but... if there's any chance that what you're thinking of bidding on is available in stores or for direct sale on websites, do a search and find out what the silly thing is worth BEFORE you bid on it, and make sure that you'd be getting a better deal via the auction than at anywhere else you could obtain it; there's nothing sadder than seeing something you could buy at Wal-Mart being auctioned off for twice what it's worth.

Why have I put so much thought into all of this, you ask? I'm approaching my 3 year "anniversary" on eBay, and in that time I've won well over a THOUSAND auctions; whoever said that $ can't buy happiness should come and see me blissfully enjoying the toys and collectibles I've gotten on "The World's Online Marketplace."


Monday, April 18, 2005

Forbidden fruit 


Why is it that when something is forbidden, it's wildly more desirable than the same thing would be if it were NOT forbidden? Why is it that if something becomes forbidden, its value to a person skyrockets, often even if it had no perceived value to them to begin with?

The 1st time I heard of this concept was when a high school English teacher said, "If John and Jane are dating, and their parents don't like it, the worst thing they can do is forbid them from seeing each other, because the moment they do, John and Jane will feel far more interest in each other than they did before, and their relationship will become more serious, and last longer, than it would have if the parents had just stayed out of it." I was STUNNED to hear that, since nothing on Earth could have ever induced ME to pursue anything forbidden, because of the near-certainty of being caught out and punished; in MY world, anything, or anyONE, that became forbidden would have been dropped like the proverbial hot potato, NOT pursued more ardently... and I don't mean that I'd drop it but pine after it, I mean I'd drop it and lose all interest instantly and forever, because it'd never occur to me to focus on things that I knew I could never have.

Even as an adult, with no threat of parental doom hanging over my head, I have no shred of interest whatsoever in anything that's forbidden to me, and, if something becomes forbidden, my interest dies at that exact moment. I might have an instinctive surge of desire for a new forbidden thing before my brain kicks in, but once the awareness of the forbidden nature of it penetrates my conscious mind, the desire vanishes... which to me seems right and normal, as it should be-why waste time and energy on the counterproductive desire for something you're not allowed to have, much less try to get it?

Yeah, I know, people find the risk of being caught exciting... but WHY? Why would the chance of bad, or even horrible, consequences befalling you if you pursue the forbidden be exciting rather than frightening? To ME, the thought of a bad thing happening DOES cause fear, as it does for everyone else under normal circumstances, because to me there's nothing magical about something being forbidden that would suppress my urge for self-preservation... and thus there's no possible level of desire that could overcome the fear of what would happen if the forbidder caught me out with the forbidden thing.

Risk, to me, is something to be avoided at all costs, NOT something exciting, fun, cool, sexy, etc, and pursuing the forbidden means taking a risk... a totally unnecessary risk... and to me that's CRAZY. Why would anyone pursue a forbidden thing, with that risk of being caught and suffering the consequences, when there are so many risk-FREE options available? Why doesn't awareness of a thing being forbidden KILL desire rather than escalating it? Why not objectively weigh all the options and choose one that's NOT forbidden? Why fling yourself at the forbidden as if it were objectively in your best interest to do so when it's NOT?

Why? Because... it's normal human nature, along with valuing something with limited and/or sporadic availability more highly, wanting what other people have just to stay "even" with them, wanting to win at meaningless competitions just for the sake of winning, and all the other things that don't apply to me and thus don't make sense.

The lure of the forbidden is so powerful that no one questions the concept from the Bible that Eve would risk losing Eden and God's favor just to eat a stupid piece of FRUIT; gargantuan possible loss, near-zero potential gain (what good would the knowledge do them in Eden?), and whether or not you believe the stories from the Bible, it probably never occurred to you to think, "But that doesn't make sense-no one would do what she did." Because most people WOULD do exactly what she did, given the chance... just not ME.

If a mothership arrived one day and beamed me up, it wouldn't surprise me all that much... ;-)


Sunday, April 17, 2005

Can a house be evil? 


I've been thinking about "The Amityville Horror"... can you tell?

Do spirits exist? Yes; I've seen them. Can spirits be evil? The worst I've personally encountered would be more like mischievous, but since people can be evil I don't see why spirits couldn't be. Could evil spirits pick a house as their "base," or be "stuck" there because that's where they died? Sure, why not?

A trickier question, though, is whether evil can exist separate from a human being, whether an inanimate object can be evil; it doesn't matter if it's a house or a rock, really, except that an evil rock wouldn't be very threatening, or be able to do any harm unless it could defy gravity and throw itself at you, or have a chance to scare you, whereas a house, which surrounds you, and where you expect to feel safest, could really make your life into a nightmare if it had any degree of evil and any power to act on it.

I've come to accept that animism exists, that each bit of matter contains a minute fraction of the energy of sentience, of feeling, of soul... but does that mean that all matter can EMIT energy, positive and/or negative, in the way that people do? It's often seemed to me that some animals, all the way down to bugs, "feel" as if they're "good" or "evil," and plenty of people say the same thing, but that could absolutely be anthropomorphization, emotional attachment, personal preference, all sorts of things. I frequently get a feeling of warmth and "welcome" from large trees, and, odd as it seems, I know other people who've felt it too, but that could just be our love for trees, or having read too much bad poetry that talks about the "welcoming embrace" of branches. Although there's clearly some gray area, there's no reason to believe that anything other than a human being can be innately evil... certainly not a rock or a bunch of boards and shingles.

BUT; what if psychometry is real, and objects can absorb all sorts of energy from the people around them, energy that stays in those objects and can be perceived later? Heck, even if no one can actually perceive the stored energy, it could, in theory, still be there... and violence, pain, fear, rage and evil generate powerful energy, which does, after all, have to go somewhere-energy can change locations and forms, but never "vanish." Let's say, for the sake of argument, that some of this energy DOES get stored in objects, such as, say, the walls of a house where a crazy, evil person brutally murdered his entire family; could that energy radiate back out? More to the point, for the fans of evil-house horror movies; could the evil coalesce into something capable of a degree of thought, such that it would focus its energy on doing specific, scary things, rather than just producing a vague feeling that there's something evil there? It seems farfetched, but these sorts of movies wouldn't scare us if we didn't believe on some level that evil can and does do something very like that; does that mean that this is some bit of truth that we instinctively perceive, or just that we heard too many ghost stories as kids?

The only way to know for sure would be to experience it personally, and nothing on Earth could get me to voluntarily put myself somewhere that people claim has evil spirits, evil in the walls, or anything else; this one will have to remain unknown for now.


Saturday, April 16, 2005

A very taxing day 


Isn't that the WORST pun, lol?

As always, April 15th was the culmination of the massive stress and effort necessary to get our taxes done... and I don't just mean the "doing the taxes" part, I mean the "dealing with the stubborn, lazy, procrastinating husband" part. He got the tax-doing software well in advance, but that's about ALL he did right:

Our printer broke down a couple of months ago; he never told me, didn't take it in, didn't write a note to remind himself or inform ME, and then just FORGOT (!!!!!!) about it until *I* tried to print something a couple of weeks later. With my shrieks of fury ringing in his ears, he took the printer in, and then failed to hammer them about taking WEEKS to get the part they needed, and we literally didn't get the frigging thing, which we needed to print out the tax forms, back until YESTERDAY.

Getting our IRA's sorted out shouldn't be that hard, but time always gets away from us, and suddenly it's an emergency; we got MINE done in plenty of time, but he kept dragging his heels about HIS, and then he discovered that he no longer had the information he needed to set it up online like he thought he could, and he didn't ask ME for the info, which I DID have even though those accounts are only in his name, until a couple of days ago... I don't know what he would have done if I hadn't had what he needed.

He did alot of stock trades last year, and he KNEW that the tax situation on them would be complicated, but he didn't even START working on it until a few days ago, never mind the rest of the taxes... with the result that we had several consecutive nights of far too little sleep, and the taxes were finally done, as always, at DAWN on the 15th. Not trusting our ability to double-check them when we hadn't slept, we looked them over and signed them after the business day was over, and then my husband went off to spend over 2 HOURS in line to mail them at the closest post office that was staying open late (and believe me, it was NOT close-you'd think a city this big could've done a little better). He got home after 9:30PM... at which point we actually got to have DINNER.

Oh, and did I forget to mention; we OWED $.

What a day. What a WEEK. I'm exhausted, worn to a frazzle, and so wound up that the sky is starting to lighten and I'm wide awake... while my husband, of course, has been sawing wood for HOURS, having shrugged off the entire tax experience as if it never happened, grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. What I need now is to relax; the remake of "The Amityville Horror" has hit the theaters... after dealing with the taxes, it'll qualify as light entertainment. Maybe I can find it in a double feature with "The Ring Two"... since I'm not sleeping anyway, what could it hurt? ;-)


Friday, April 15, 2005

More tech stuff 


There's never a dull moment in my sidebar; it got a big overhaul today. I found yet another cool javascript, one with a different twist on the geolocater deal that I already have in my welcome message; it shows you what country you're from, along with your national flag, AND, if anyone else is reading here at the same time you are, it shows the same thing for THEM... and hopefully is more accurate for people in Africa and India than the one that tries to guess your city is. You could make the case that it's excessive to have TWO geolocation javascripts, but I'm totally unable to resist novelty stuff like that, so as they come up with more of 'em I'll probably install them too.

As you'd expect, the darned thing DID do its best to thwart me; it refused to right-justify, even though everything else in that part of the sidebar does it without problems, so I had to adjust the width of the element to force it over... and it didn't just move over the minimum amount to be within the limit I'd set, it moved ALL the way over, and I don't know why, but it looks good so I don't care.

Another thing I did today was to add a couple of new click-to-donate-for-free buttons; to the best of my ability to research, all of those sites (which are obviously run by the same people, as the buttons are the same design) ARE set up such that businesses donate $ to valid charities for every time you click... and no, *I* do NOT make any $ from this, the entire sponsored value of each click goes to the charities. If you haven't already done so, take a couple of minutes to click them all; it's the easiest charitable contribution you can make.

I also changed the order of the sidebar elements in the upper section, to reflect which ones I think are the most useful or important, and to make as nice-looking of a layout as I can manage; the welcome is much more prominent now, especially since I discovered accidentally that I could make the text bold (by unintentionally deleting an "end bold" command, which made the entire sidebar suddenly go bold, lol), and the link to blogroll me is easier to find, so it's more user-friendly, I guess you could say. I nearly took out the Freefind search, since I'm sure no one has used it since the Google search got put at the top of the "page," but... that search was the first tech thing I struggled with and succeeded at (I tried at least 2 other site searches 1st, including an older version of the Google one, neither of which worked), and... and I'm just too nostalgic about if, if that's the right word for something I did only last year, to take it out, so I just shifted it down a little. Besides, if the Google search breaks down at some point, I'll be glad to still have it available, right?

My other big tech news has nothing to do with my blog; we finally got digital cable. Because the reason for the switch is to get Showtime before the next season of "Queer as Folk" starts (in my area, they'll only give you new premium channels if you have digital, how's that for pressure to switch?), we now have the full spectrum of Showtimes, plus all the HBO's now that we have the ability to see them all, plus an INSANE # of new channels, including things like BBC America, Oxygen and the Sundance channel, PLUS free access to the "in demand" libraries of about 20 channels, which means we can choose from THOUSANDS of programs to watch any time we want. We can't make heads or tails out of all of it yet; we don't know what most of the channels are, or what they show, or what #'s are for what channels... but we're learning fast, because it's like a fabulous new toy that we can't put down.

The biggest problem is just finding out what's being shown, and in such a way that it doesn't take half an hour to sort through it all; I tried the TV Guide site

http://tvguide.com/listings/

and their system can't seem to handle listings for this many channels-the text all overlaps, so it's just impossible to use, AND it has no descriptions included in the grid, which is NUTS. The Excite TV listings

http://www.excite.com/tv/grid.jsp

handles showing all the channels perfectly, but it includes the dozens of channels that we DON'T get with our digital package, and a bunch that we do get but will never watch, so it's time-consuming and confusing to sort through it all to get useful information. Luckily, this site

http://tvlistings2.zap2it.com/grid.asp?partner_id=national

allows you, once you've registered, to customize the channel listing you see, and shows it all perfectly, descriptions and all... as you might imagine, it's my new favorite site.

There was a movie, or I guess it could have been a TV show, from many years ago with a scene where someone got cable for the 1st time, and stayed up all night watching and watching in amazement; we haven't managed that yet, but we're coming close, lol. Have we actually reached the point where there'll always be something decent to watch, at long last? Time will tell.


Thursday, April 14, 2005

In search of sleep 


Primitive man laid down when it got dark and slept until it was light again, like all the other diurnal creatures; you can't mess with biology with impunity, and our creation of artificial light, and all sorts of things to do by that light during the time we're supposed to be sleeping, has made insomnia, sleep deprivation, and overall exhaustion the rule rather than the exception in the modern world.

Ever since my teenage years, I've been a chronic insomniac. It takes a normal person 10 minutes or less to fall asleep; it takes me from 1-1.5 HOURS... and even when it's VERY late, and/or I'm utterly exhausted, it doesn't usually cut this wait-time down much, if at all. Some insomniacs fall asleep easily but wake up far too soon, and often without being able to get back to sleep; I'm usually spared not being able to stay asleep, but if I get woken up with 5 or more hours of sleep, it's a significant risk. To try to improve things a little, I've compiled some ideas for getting better sleep over the years; they aren't magical or anything, but every little bit helps.

I've long since realized that I need the room to be dark, quiet, and between 67-75 degrees in order for me to have any chance of getting to sleep, which is, not coincidentally, what the experts recommend for people in general; it's what we're biologically programmed to expect, after all. They also say to not eat or watch TV in your bedroom, so that your mind associates the room with sleep only (and sex, of course, lol), and as a result, I'm probably the only person in America who doesn't have a TV in the bedroom; then again, some people can't fall asleep without the TV on, so for all I know I'm missing out on something beneficial.

The old advice about counting sheep is still valid, at least from a conceptual viewpoint; it's a good idea to focus on something very specific, and non-stressful, to keep to-do lists and such from seeping in and preventing you from relaxing enough to drift off. Generally, if I try to tell a story to myself in my head, instead of just letting my thoughts wander, that'll put me to sleep, although it takes a while and is harder to keep doing than you'd imagine; anything you can think of to keep your mind from running in circles will probably do you some good, and as a bonus can influence the sort of dreams you have.

I copied this from a website long enough ago that I no longer have the URL:

"If you are suffering sleep problems, try these treatments:

* Maintain a regular sleep-wake pattern. Go to bed and wake up at the same times each day, including the weekend. Also, do not awaken too late, because the early morning sunlight is best at resetting your biological clock.

* Don't exercise strenuously within two to three hours of retiring. Exercising early in the day helps you sleep, but exercising too close to bed keeps you awake.

* Don't eat a large meal within one to two hours of going to bed. Major digestive efforts can keep you up.

* Have a light snack before bed. A little bit of food before bed can help you sleep.

* Adopt bedtime rituals. Read for a while. Change into pajamas. Brush your teeth. Lock your doors. Turn out your lights. Rituals help ease you into sleep.

* Turn down your thermostat. Cool temperatures help induce sleep.

* Don't nap during the day. Napping can interfere with night sleep.

* Limit your caffeine consumption. Drink less regular coffee. Caffeine can also be found in tea, colas, cocoa, chocolate, and many over-the-counter drugs (read labels and ask your pharmacist). Avoid caffeinated drinks eight hours prior to sleep.

* Avoid shift work. If at all possible, work days (9 to 5 or a schedule close to it). Working afternoons (4 to midnight) and nights (midnight to 8) disrupts sleep. The most sleep-disrupting schedule is rotating shift work: periods of day, afternoon, and night work.

In addition, several antidepressant medications may disrupt sleep, notably MAO inhibitors, tricyclics, and SSRIs. If you take any of these medications and have sleep disturbances, you may not be aware of them. They may cause "micro-awakenings," momentary rousing during sleep that you don't realize is happening.

So how can you tell if your antidepressant is causing sleep disturbances? One tip-off is daytime drowsiness. If you have this, discuss it with your doctor. Dose adjustment may resolve the problem. If not, you might be able to switch to a medication not associated with sleep problems."


I think it's best to not pop pills to sleep unless you're desperate, but if you ARE desperate, as *I* periodically am, here are a few things you can take that have a good chance of working (if you're on meds, ALWAYS consult with your doctor or psychiatrist before taking ANY sleep aid):

MELATONIN:

Melatonin is a chemical your body produces to tell you when the "day" is up, and it's time to go to sleep; when it hits your bloodstream, it makes you sleepy. You can buy it in pill form without a prescription at any health, drug, general or grocery store; when you take the pills, the melatonin they contain acts in your body exactly as your OWN melatonin does, safely and usually with no side effects. The down side is that you should NOT take melatonin nightly long-term, because it's been found to cause "mild depression" when taken protractedly; sleep and depression are both affected by the neurotransmitter serotonin, so pushing that sleep button too often appears to slide over into depression territory. Whatever the reason, it's best to use melatonin only to change your sleep schedule and/or help you catch up on your sleep.

MY experience has been; it makes me sleepy an hour or hour and a half after I take 1 pill, and in 15-20 minutes if I take 2; the more behind I am in sleep, the quicker and harder it'll hit my system. When I take it several nights in a row, which I try to avoid, it has a lesser, slower effect on each successive night; I have a 3-night maximum, usually, after which it does nothing for me at all.

KAVA KAVA:

from "The Little Herb Encyclopedia":

"Captain Cook discovered Kava Kava and gave the plant the name "intoxicating pepper."

Kava Kava as an analgesic sedative is used to relieve pain in rheumatic complaints, alleviate insomnia and calm nervousness. It was used by the ancient Tahitians to create a "stupefying" drink. They used Kava Kava as a tonic and stimulant in small doses.

Kava Kava root is also known as one of the most powerful of the herbal muscle relaxants. Kava Kava is helpful in increasing flexibility influencing the motor units of the nervous system, relaxing muscle tension and aiding with structural alignment.

It has been used to treat the following: Anxiety, asthma, bronchitis, fatigue, gonorrhea, gout, insomnia, nervousness, pain, rheumatism, spasms, urinary tract infections, vaginitis."

You can buy it in most health, general, drug and grocery stores.

VALERIAN:

Another herb that many swear by to get restful sleep without side effects; you can buy it in, you guessed it, most health, general, drug and grocery stores.


If you need prescription meds to get some sleep, and especially if you suffer from depression and/or anxiety and might need longer-term help, here are a few possibilities:

AMBIEN:

This well-advertised prescription drug gets high ratings from people who use it; it knocks you out and makes you sleep peacefully for 7-8 hours, with no serious side effects. However, it's ADDICTIVE, so you can only take it for 7-10 days.

TRAZODONE:

This prescription anti-depressant/sleep aid can be taken long-term, and seems to work well for most people; it tends to cause dry-mouth, however, along with a metallic taste in the mouth, and some people experience trouble breathing from using it.

REMERON:

This is another prescription anti-depressant/sleep aid; it's much more expensive than the other 2, but half a tiny tablet will probably knock you out... it'll likely leave you sort of groggy the next day, but if you're really suffering, it might be worth it.


Here's something else that I've found useful, that I saved from an old issue of Cosmo (2002?):

"At night, your body starts to cool off; the drop in body temperature then signals it's time to drift off to dreamland. So if your bedroom is blazin', it will be tough to fall-and stay-asleep because your body is never able to reach that optimal sleeping temp. Studies have also shown that a too-toasty room can cause disturbing dreams.

Snooze solution: If you have a bedroom thermostat, set it to 65 degrees or lower. You can also help along your body's natural cooling process by taking a hot bath pre-bedtime. It sounds counterintuitive, but when you come out of the water, your body temperature drops rapidly, setting your sleep mode in motion. No time for the tub? Put on warm socks at bedtime. They cause blood vessels in your feet to dilate, which takes heat away from the rest of your body."

You don't need to have a thermostat in your bedroom to take advantage of that cooling-off idea; if it's hot and you have A/C, run it before bedtime to cool the house down enough for you to sleep, and cool your body down at the same time, and if it's chilly and you've been running the heat, turn it down a while before bedtime so that the house, and your body, cool down before you get into bed.

And, finally, the thing that would provide the biggest sleep assistance for most women; make that snoring, thrashing, stinky, overly-hormonal husband or boyfriend sleep in another room!! ;-)


Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Why I love Scott Adams 


Brilliant cartoonist (and metaphysical philosopher) Scott Adams sends out periodic e-newsletters based on the "Dilbert universe"; the current one, which you can read here

http://www.dilbert.com/comics/dilbert/dnrc/html/newsletter60.html

includes the following:

"Sometimes my brain ties together things that are better left alone. Here are three things I've thought about recently:

- Microchip designers often embed microscopic messages on the surface of the chip as a way of signing their work.

- DNA has a lot of "junk" parts that don't seem to have any function.

- A lot of people think evolution is obviously "designed" by someone.

I wonder if any cryptographers have looked at that junk DNA to see if it's a message from the designer. I'm guessing that it's a code that says something like, "I am Kaloopah, from the star system Nebulon IV. I have sent this evolution program into space as my eighth grade science project.""

Aside from this being terribly clever and funny, it made me think; who does this concatenation of disparate ideas remind you of? ;-)

Typically, Adams isn't just being amusing, but also has an intellectual point to make:

"I suspect that the only way time can be infinite is if the past connects to the future like some huge Mobius strip-wormhole kind of deal."

We already know, both from quantum physics experiments (which demonstrate, for example, that effect can precede cause), and from the existence of precognition (which shows us that the future already exists in some form and to some degree) that time does NOT exist the way we think it does, if in fact it exists at all. Up until this point, I've been at a loss as to what form it might exist in, but a Mobius strip is a good way to visualize one way it might "look" if you suspect that the universe goes through an endless cycle of rebirth, which I think it very likely does; it just doesn't seem intuitively right for time to "reset" for each cycle as if it were a cosmic odometer, which makes the idea of it looping attractive, and the Mobius strip, which is one-sided, is a little simpler than a classic loop, which has 2 sides... and, fond as I am of Occam's Razor, I've gotta go with the simpler model.

Ahhhhhhh, I LOVE Scott Adams!! :-)


Tuesday, April 12, 2005

The hidden karma 


Ok, technically ALL karma is hidden, at least in the sense that you can't see it directly, but what I'm referring to is that part of the karma that affects your life that you probably don't give any thought to; the karma of the people around you. I've written about this before, and my conclusions were: In the same way that, if someone throws a water balloon at the person standing next to you, you'll probably get splattered, the karma directed at the people in your life can "splatter" you; karma is energy, after all, and, like the other forms of energy found in nature, doesn't travel in a narrow, sharply defined path... it spreads out, sort of like how you could turn a flashlight beam on someone, and nearby people would also get dimly lit. What effect does this have on your life? Usually, none; most karma isn't that powerful, even for the person it's aimed at, because most of what we do is of little karmic consequence... but when someone in your life DOES earn a big karmic response, for good or bad, look out.

What brought this into my mind today was another aspect of karma that I've covered before; how the "no good deed goes unpunished" concept can be explained for those situations that aren't attributable to the ungratefulness and resentfulness of many of the people who need good deeds done for them... and my conclusion there was that, when you give, it creates a "hole" where that energy used to be, and, although karma will try to send you positive energy to fill the hole made when you sent out positive energy, if it can't, it'll send you something negative to fill the hole, because karma, like the rest of nature, abhors a vacuum.

Looking at those 2 things, I've belatedly made a connection between them; oftentimes when you're doing good deeds, you're doing them for people around you who're going through bad times (or else why would they NEED your good deeds?), and who thus are unhappy, worried, angry... radiating negative energy, in other words, so karma sends negative energy back at them, and if you are, not just in the "karmic splash zone," but with a karmic hole from what you've been giving, karma doesn't have to do anything to try to fill that hole-the negativity already flowing near you just pops right in.

No, it's not fair, but karma, like the other forces of nature, follows laws that do NOT include our idea that good people should get good things; bad karma can hit a good person in the same way that lightning can strike a good person if they happen to be standing outside in a storm. You can't always avoid people who are radiating negative energy, and in fact you might not be able to be a good person if you do so; all you can do is be aware of the situation, and make a conscious choice as to when and what to give... and keep your overall karma clean, of course, which is your best defense against just about everything.


Monday, April 11, 2005

When is it porn? 


This probably seems like a simple issue to you; a clear definition probably popped into your head as soon as you read the title. The problem is that not everyone shares your definition, or mine, or anyone else's, and that leaves us with no way to truly judge where the line is between porn and almost-porn.

I recently discovered that one of the HBO's has "adults only" features late at night, which is the euphemism for movies with weak, limited bits of plot connecting sex scenes... porn movies, in other words. Everything I've seen thus far is softcore, which mostly means that you don't see, er, anything being inserted into anything else; still, I don't think that anyone would try to claim that these are anything but porn movies.

By comparison, consider the awesome Showtime series "Queer as Folk," which is NOT considered porn: It shows full frontal nudity of both genders, often fairly close up, while the HBO "adult" movies I've seen thus far haven't shown ANY shots of male genitals, and the female frontal nudity has NOT been close up. QAF shows anal sex, sex toys, S&M, group sex, anonymous sex in back rooms, prostitution, everything but the kitchen sink, sexually... and the HBO features show fairly tame intercourse and very little else.

So, why is QAF not considered porn? Do quality scripts make even pretty graphic sex scenes somehow not porn, in the same way that even the most explicitly painted nudes, even the ones by Lucien Freud that show women with their legs wide open, are considered not pornographic or indecent or inappropriate to show minors, because there's talent involved in their creation, making them "art"? In the same way that if you go to a play and see nudity, or even a sex scene, on stage, it's "theater," but if you put $ into a slot to see live nudity or sex in a peep show at an adult bookstore, it's sleazy and pornographic?

When is it porn? When there's nudity and/or sex such that most people don't see enough artistic merit to it for it to NOT be porn. Silly, isn't is?

Neither the naked human body, nor any of its biological functions including sex, should even merit special notice, much less special names and special rules; can you imagine what our lives would be like if none of the parts of our body, and none of our activities, were considered "dirty"? Me neither...


Sunday, April 10, 2005

An ad with a lesson 


Picture it: A handsome man is making a romantic dinner for his lady. As he's chopping veggies, the big, fluffy white cat jumps up on the counter by the stove and puts its paws on the handle of the pot of tomato sauce, which falls to the floor; the cat jumps down into the mess, the man grabs it and lifts it out... and the lady walks in to see him standing there with a knife in one hand, and the cat with red stuff soaked into its fur in the other hand. The punchline comes on the screen; "Don't judge too quickly."

Now, granted, we've all seen countless movies where someone walks in on their partner in bed with someone else, and the partner says, "This isn't what it looks like," even though it of course IS, and we get the idea from that that incriminating-looking things are always as they seem at first glance... but they're NOT. Usually, yes, but not always, so we need to remember that, with the obvious exception of when we find naked people in bed together, we should take a moment to make sure we have all the facts before we leap to a damning judgment... especially if the person involved has a solid history of virtuous behavior (funny, isn't it, how much quicker we are to judge against the righteous than against the known wrong-doers?).

If you haven't seen this ad yet, you can view it here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbZzDPx1gas

One final, totally unrelated thought, too small to merit its own entry but still worth a mention: I don't know where this idea came from, but apparently I'm still on a color/interior decorating kick; out of nowhere, I got an image of a comforter in a deep, tranquil blue, made of some version of changeable taffeta or shot silk such that the color change as you move around it makes it look like it's a pond with ripples spreading out from the middle... doesn't that sound COOL? What could be more soothing, more inspiring of lovely dreams, than having it look like you're going to slip into a "magic pond" when you get into bed? I'm sure it'd cost a fortune to make, but it'd be worth it.


Saturday, April 09, 2005

Take a chance 


Normally, when someone says that to you, it's a manipulative ploy to try to get you to do something you know better than to do, with its implied suggestion that you don't take chances (although you almost certainly DO), and that not taking chances is a bad thing (when in fact it's NOT, as most chances include the likelihood that you'll lose something); the new button in my sidebar that says this often-loaded phrase, however... well, why give any hints, after going to the trouble of putting up a mysterious button, right? Try it and see for yourself.

... did you try it? Cool, huh? :-)

After my triumph over the timepiece equivalent of the Gordian knot a couple of nights ago, I'd have thought it was too soon for another victory over technology, but that button represents one: As is usually the case, I found a site that had it, and of course *I* wanted it, so I brought up the source code and started looking for the javascript that generated it; it wasn't hard to find, as the button originally had the word "earthquake" on it, and all I had to do was find where that word was used... and, in case you're wondering, I didn't set MY button up that way, first because it'd be insensitive to do so after the horrific ones we've had in recent months, and then after I thought of the 1st reason it occurred to me that it'd be more fun to have people not know what to expect when they clicked on it.

Given the amount of struggle I've come to expect with every addition to the template, I figured I'd have to have to go through an endless round of failed attempts no matter what; to make matters worse, I was SURE that the code as I found it was fully HALF unnecessary, despite the fact that I know nothing whatsoever about javascript programming... it just seemed certain to me that a whole function was being defined that was never USED, and it bugged me to think of having it in there-don't ask me why, lol. Furthermore, the code was set up to center the button, and I knew from painful experience that I did NOT want anything inserted in the sidebar that was other than right-justified (there's nothing like seeing a chunk of text or a graphic right up against the main body of the blog to ruin one's whole day), so I had to yank that out... even though I had no way of knowing if that would somehow mess something else up. AND, I had to change what the button said, and hope that it would resize itself to fit; I had no idea what I'd do if it didn't.

So; I took the totally unfamiliar code that I couldn't "read," and had altered and removed almost half of, stuck it in my template, republished the blog, and scrolled down with my breath held... and there was the button, exactly as it was supposed to look. With my fingers crossed, I clicked it... and it WORKED!! I couldn't believe it; for the first time since I've had this blog, I did a new technical thing and had it be PERFECT the first time around. :-O

Ahhhhhhh, it's gonna be a lovely weekend.


Friday, April 08, 2005

So, I saw a porn movie 


Technically, I saw PART of one; my husband was checking out what was on the various HBO channels, and one of them had a sex scene going on... so naturally he called ME in to see it. I took one look and said, "What is THAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?!!," although, despite many years of marriage, I DO still have a vague memory of what "that" was, lol. As soon as he grasped that I was going to watch the movie, my husband went off to work on his computer; I know, it seems un-masculine for a man to not want to watch a porn movie, but he can produce flatulence that'd melt chrome off a bumper, so his manhood is secure.

The most amazing thing about the sex scene was how quickly it got boring; the "actors" had their mouths hanging open to supposedly simulate passion, and all they did was assume a position, bounce together a dozen or so times, then switch positions and bounce some more... it had all the eroticism and charm of 2 dogs doing it on the front lawn.

It'd been a long while since I'd seen a porn movie, so the things that stood out the most visually were the ones that had changed from how these movies used to look; the enormity and obvious fakeness of all the boobs, and the total lack of pubic hair on everyone. Obviously, the men for whom these movies are made don't get "ew yuck" reactions from these things, although I can't imagine why, since hairless genitals and unnatural breasts are NOT part of what they're biologically programmed to be turned on by, but *I* sure found them disturbingly icky.

Some things NEVER change about these movies, apparently, because some aspects of the one I saw looked very familiar: They got their soft furnishings from some sort of warehouse that the stuff in all the colors and patterns that no one on Earth would ever put in their homes goes to, and they threw it together at random to create sets whose purpose must be to keep your eyes from wandering from the action... because they're just too painful to look at. The wardrobe for the women consisted of garish spandex outfits that'd embarrass a hooker, worn with towering high heels that they never took off... and mind you, it's HARD to throw your legs up in the air when you're wearing 10 lbs of shoes. Makeup-wise, they wore the sort of pale pink, frosted lipstick that no one over the age of 13 wears in real life, and freakish, 70's-style multi-hued eyeshadow, and I had to wonder; since when are modern men fantasizing about women with their faces painted that way? Why do they DO that in these movies-how does it add to the fantasy for the women to wear outdated makeup? And, last but far from least, there was the most basic element of straight porn; hot babes eagerly doing it with men who are average-looking at best.

One thing about the movie was particularly interesting, given how brainwashed we are about what a human body is supposed to look like; these women were all under 25, I'd guess, and all slender and fit... and every last one of them had cellulite. In the midst of all that unrealistic nonsense, it was refreshing to see a dash of reality.





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