Monday, July 14, 2014

Drabble - Me

Drabble - Me

It's not you, it's me.  It's never you, it's always me.

It's me.


Me with an imperfect belly.  The wrong curve to my hips.  The wrong smirk.  The wrong eye color.  Me, with too-frizzy hair, and eyes that are a little too wide-set.

Me, with the eccentric need to eat too-hard boiled eggs in the morning.

Me who cooks pasta in unsalted water.

It's not you, it's me.  Me who wears socks to sleep in summer.  Who packs a rain coat on a clear day.  Who pats every dog, shies away from every cat.

Me who reads sad romance novels, and the funnies on sundays.

Me who dances with two left feet, who drives a little too fast, who mismatches purse and sandals.

It's not you, it's me.  Me who blinks during photos.

Who spills ice water at dinner.  Who uses the fork in the right hand, and the knife in the left.

Who writes too much, and stares at the stars too long.

Who isn't right for you.  Who won't be what you want.  Too fat, too thin, too tall, too short.  Hair too straight, too curly, too much moustache, not enough beard, too muscular, not tan enough.

It's not you, it's me.  Me who is all wrong for you.  Me who tells myself it will never work.  That your eyes glass past mine every time.

It's not you.  It's me.

It's always me.



Life - Not What We Are Looking For

Life - Not What We Are Looking For

Dear [Name],

Thank you for applying for the position of [Title],

We appreciate your interest in this position, and your taking the time to apply.  However we are sorry to inform you that after careful consideration, we have decided to follow up with other applicants who more closely match the requirements for this position, and the needs of the department.  We feel you would not be a good fit for our corporate structure and the fit of our current employee environment.

We think you are a dreamer, and that you want different things.  We think that you are unsuitable because we cannot offer you an outlet for your creative interests.  We are of the opinion that you are too talented, too creative, too innovative, too different, too strange, too outgoing, too loud, too quiet, too under-qualified, too over-qualified.  We want someone who conforms, who fits, who is easy, and simple, and straightforward.

We think you have too many jagged corners, that you are filled with too many stories to tell, too many anecdotes and ideas.  We think you use two words where one is often good, and none are better.  We wonder if you will have your head in the clouds, dreaming of different worlds, of the way people interact and come together, exchange words and become different.  Instead of being pragmatic, instead of looking at the methodology we require of how two plus two is four.  Because two plus two is always four.  And for you, sometimes two plus two is five.  And sometimes, two plus two is three.

We think you are a thing that is not human, because you dream of different things.  We think we will never be able to offer you money to stay grounded, because you don't care about compensation.  We think we cannot control you with dental plans, or healthcare, or vacation pay because these concepts are foreign to you.  We think you will not adhere to a 9 hour work day, that you will stay too late, and take work home, and dream and work, and work and dream.  That your life might be intertwined too closely with the job, and we cannot have that.

We are sorry to inform you that upon careful consideration, these reasons are too much for us to ignore, and we have decided to pursue other applicants and candidates.  It is not personal.  You are just too outlier.

We encourage you to visit our career site often to see what jobs become available that might be a better fit for you.  We will keep your credentials and profile in our database.  If you would like to receive automated notifications for new openings, please, sign up with a profile to our human resources department.

Human Resources

Replies to this message are undeliverable, and will not reach HR.  Please, do not reply.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Writing - PostModernism

Writing - PostModernism

I can think of a lot of uplifting or at least energizing rather than enervating postmodern fiction: e.g. If Upon a Winter's night a Traveler by Italo Calvino, Fight club by Palahniuk, virtually anything by Neil Gaiman, virtually anything by Alan Moore, figures like Hunter S, Thompson and Hakim Bey, and in the more mainstream and funny sense: the great postmodern sitcoms like Larry David's Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm and Louis C.K. and Tina Fey and the like.

I don't think that just because something like Seinfeld is ironic, self-referential and categorically against enlightenment and the lifting of the spirits like in the more conventional "Friends" ("no hugs" being Seinfeld internal slogan as the show was conceived), it is automatically desolate and hopeless, much less cruel.
Conversely, I can think of a ton of dour modernist works and classic novels (Bleak House, anyone?) Chekhov?

Postmodern thought is dismissive of high-minded notions of true beauty and ultimate meaning and such, but it pretty much embraces the trickster, free play, the willingness to survive and outmaneuver the terrible monolithic forces hedging our lives, to be a gadfly and a libertine and a force of and for pleasure.

Modernist absolute truth often came with a demand for heroism or sacrifice, while the postmodern absence of absolute truth comes with an injunction to make your own contingent but consistent meanings. Both are related models for existential validation in an uncaring universe, but one seeks to correct the other by minimizing the coersive and authoritarian elements implicit in its modeling of "truth".

People always blame postmodernism for the disillusionment with absolute values, but postmodernism merely described what was happening to the whole West after the traumas of the second world war and the holocaust, Postmodernists didn't hide the values everyone believed in and didn't destroy them, they just drew a suggestive image of the world as already disenchanted, complete with shreds of the shattered discourses that once validated everything and made everything seem simple.

The values of the Enlightenment project didn't crumble from postmodernism, they crumbled because the nation responsible for the most potent philosophy of the Enlightenment used those ideas to justify unprecedented atrocities, while the Ford assembly line model of efficiency through reason and productivity turned into the gas chamber. It is the modernist Adorno that declared that there can be no more poetry after Auschwitz, postmodernism has largely sought to prove Adorno wrong.

Postmodernism didn't hollow the grand narratives out, it pointed out that they were always already hollow.
Besides, if you can find something as soulcrushing as Chekhov's "In the Pit" /v Ovrage in all of postmodernism, Id love to see it. There is no lifting of the spirits in Chekhov and never was.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Zen - Chop Wood, Carry Water

Zen - Chop Wood, Carry Water

A common misconception in following a spiritual life is the belief that in order to follow the practice that one must live in a cave, wear a saffron robe and beg for alms. This picture of a monk with a shaved head living in the mountains leads one to believe a spiritual practice is not possible unless one practices asceticism. This commitment level and practice is too much for some so they refrain completely from practicing a spiritual life. This all or nothing mentality creates a missing in a person’s life. It IS possible to have a spiritual existence without a shaved head and bamboo cup.

Many masters in India as well as spiritual practitioners across the globe live a regular life with a family, and a job. How is such a life possible?The essence of living a spiritual life is contained in the Zen quote “when hungry eat, when tired sleep.” Now before your mind reacts and you say to yourself….’Gee thanks for that incredibly obvious piece of wisdom.’ Look at this quote more closely, along with the initial passage above ‘before enlightenment chop wood, carry water…after enlightenment chop wood, carry water.’ Break life down into the simplicity of the present moment.

As human beings we do not live in the present moment. We carry our past forward with us, we yearn for something in the future and all the time we miss what is in front of us at all times. Life is beautiful right in front of us at every moment. Focusing on this moment right now removes the mind from drifting to wants, needs, desires….all driven by the mind in search of attachment. With attachment comes suffering.

When I am in the mind-set of when hungry eat, when tired sleep I am fully present to the simple needs I actually have to survive and I am present to life AS it is happening. I can see a child’s smile across the park. I can see the bird in the tree. I can smell the lilac tree as I run by. I can feel the rain on my skin and the presence of the divine in every moment.

In the early days of the Zen monasteries, the number of monks grew to the point that it was necessary to split up tasks, chores throughout the day to keep the place running. It was impractical to have all sit in meditation all day as there was upkeep and food needed. The practice of meditation while awake and doing chores was brought into practice. This practice was a supplement to the actual sitting meditation with the intent to find PRESENCE at all times throughout the day. Do not let your mind wander. Bring it forth to the present moment be it listening to another, focusing on a task, or going for a walk.

The simplicity of a spiritual life is available for anyone, no shaved heads required. It involves staying present, getting the mind under control, practicing love and compassion. Clear your mind….Chop wood, Carry Water.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Comics - Responding To Sexism

Comics - Responding To Sexism

I understand trying to make comics female friendly, but aren't you guys worried that you're going to lose your core audience which is male? In the X-books you've had more focus on the likes on these females like jean and kitty while it should be Cyclops who has been the star of the X-Men comics for years. What warrants these characters more page time than him? Jean and kitty are secondary characters. You guys listen too much to women bitching. They cause so much freakin drama in comicdom. -Anon

Wow.  you are the first person who I am kind of glad asked your question anonymously because I don’t want to know you.
As a reader of my work I want you to listen to me very carefully: you have major major issues. almost every line of your question reeks of complete misunderstanding of yourself as a man and of women in general.
It’s okay to find yourself more interested in something than others, of course it is,  it’s okay to like Cyclops more than Jean Grey, but for you to draw the line at women characters not being interesting to you because you are a man or that you think I am being manipulated by some bitching women is really out there.
And as a reader of the X-Men whose entire philosophy is about tolerance and understanding… you are missing the point.
-Brian Michael Bendis

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Life - Decide

Life - Decide

What would you choose?

I think it speaks hilariously to my personal dichotomy that I would either choose Escape or Dominion...

Mari and Raena brought up that Nakama would make an amazing film though (or television series).  I've actually begun sketching out ideas based on that now for a game too...

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Math - Blood Longsword

Math - Blood Longsword

Redditor SecretCoyote did the math.

The average man has 4 grams of iron in his blood.

According to Wikipedia, the average British longsword was between 1.1 and 1.8 kg. We'll use 1.45, the median value.

Also according to Wikipedia, the carbon content of steel is anywhere between .002% and 2.1%. Averaged, the carbon percentage of steel is 1.051%, though I doubt the percentage was anything approaching consistent (if anyone has better numbers for that please share).

So 1.45kg - (1.45kg * 1.051%) = 1.4347605kg of iron in the average longsword. At .004kg of iron in the average man, and assuming complete iron extraction from each corpse, forging a sword from blood-iron would have taken 358.69, or 359 dead men (far fewer than I expected, frankly).

TL;DR: at 359 humans, it's one damn expensive sword to make.