Displaying Category: Pondering

Staring

Staring.

I'm sure if anyone paid attention to me they would just see a man staring.

If observers paid close attention, they might see the distance between this world and the place my mind had flown off to.

I spend so much time now in fantastical worlds that reality has grown pale and flavorless, like some unfortunate, but typical block of tofu.

These fantasy worlds where I spend my time aren't populated by dragons or knights or glorious castles, but instead they flicker with dreams of people who notice me.

Alright, I am speaking of women people. Women who, in my dreams, talk with me and let me talk with them. I traverse all possibilities in these dreams, in these fantasies. There's the scene where we're walking along the path and our hands brush together and then, a moment later, they brush again, but for just a moment longer. Then, almost instinctively, like it's completely natural, I hold her hand, and, because this is a fantasy, she doesn't pull away. Further along, I imagine we stop to look at a brook, tumbling carelessly by at our feet over fallen branches and smooth river stones. Holding her hand, I look into her eyes, and, because this is a fantasy, she doesn't look away. Instead, we stand transfixed by the gaze of the other and she smiles, so I smile. I press her hand in mine a little tighter and she breathes in a deep breath and I lean in to touch my lips to hers.

Warm. Soft. Wet. Smooth.

My heart pounds and her grip tightens in mine while her other hand goes to the back of my head.

And because it's a dream, I don't feel alone.

I have other dreams, of course. Ones where she slides up against me and puts her arm around my waist and holds close. She's warm and her presence calms me, grounds me while making my soul fly like a hummingbird on speed.

I know they're dreams, you see, because in them I am happy. That's not natural. That's not real.

Reality is loneliness.

Reality is seeing but never feeling.

I've told people about my dreams, about those places where I'm not alone, where my feelings matter and where her feelings matter to me.

“You just need to look harder. It's a numbers game, put yourself out there.”

It's like a mantra they've all been trained to respond with when the key phrase is spoken.

But love isn't about numbers. It isn't a game. It's not a stage upon which you prance, saying the lines and making appropriate gestures according to the relevant cultural script.

Love is a fantasy.

Love is a dream.

It lives in my head.

It flutters in my soul.

It bounces over branches, around rocks.

It plays in the briefest of touches and rejoices in the longest of kisses.

Love is silly, it's unrealistic. It comes from TV and movies.

It bites.

It kicks.

It screams obscenities and throws things.

It doesn't know what it wants, but it knows it wants you.

What is that?

I glare at it. Love does not look my way. It stands indignant and resolute, looking away and slightly to the right. I can't tell what it's focused on, only that it won't pay any attention to me.

“Fine!” I declare. “I don't need you!”

I turn and stomp away, trying to make a good show of my rejection.

“I don't need you,” I whisper to myself. “I have my own worlds. My own fantasies. My own dreams.”

I find a bench and plop myself down, wearied from all the exertion. Throwing an arm over the back of the bench I look out over the land before me. It could be a lake or an open field or a busy urban street. I'm not seeing any of it.

My thoughts have already collapsed in upon themselves, traveling to a distant world of amazing fantasies and unbelievable dreams.

A place where a boy is noticed by a girl who smiles and approaches to introduce herself.

There may have been hand-holding and kissing and probably more, but only the boy sitting alone on the bench with the distant look and relaxed smile knows anything of that.

My first look at Mass Effect 2

I admit, I'm behind the times... I just played the first 100 minutes of Mass Effect 2 and here are my initial thoughts (that, by this time, almost certainly aren't original). My first thought, "OMG, it's Robocop!" Next, "Wait, it's Serenity?" Let me explain... There's the Alliance... There's this crew cobbled together from all types... There's the helmsman, Joker, who seems an awful lot like Wash. Serenity had Reavers, Mass Effect has the Reapers. Serenity had the planet Miranda, Mass Effect 2 has the character Miranda. That's it so far, and I'll admit, a lot of this applies to Mass Effect the first as well, but ME2 is now fresh in my mind and this is what I experienced almost right away.

How we're going to fix the economy

I'm tired of all this fancy political talk about how the Democrats have accomplished nothing by paying people to get shit done (with stimulus), while the Republicans will fix everything by cutting funding to everything (and thereby firing people) and then do nothing, because they seriously expect business to fix it all for them... noting, of course, that for the last two years American businesses have been holding on to their money, afraid to do anything until government figures out what the hell they're going to do to fix the economy.

So in summary:

Democrats: pay people to work.

Republicans: Fire people and do nothing.

I'll let that sink in.

Before Rudolph

Sitting at the restaurant eating breakfast I realized I was listening to Rudolph of the red nose who guided Santa's sleigh at night. Then I went to the hardware store and heard the same song (different rendition). I started to wonder... What did Santa do before he discovered Rudolph? Quite suddenly the image of Santa repeatedly slamming into the sides of mountains or skyscrapers really brightened an otherwise dreary day. See, Christmas carols can be good!

How much is enough?

My current dilemma involves something I've been questioning of myself lately. But to explain, I need to roll back time a bit. Historically, I've been rather lax about getting things taken care of to my complete satisfaction. For example, I purchase an item, be it a radio or a pair of jeans, a car... whatever, and there is something not quite right about these things. The buttons on the radio might not work predictably, the jeans might be the wrong size, and any number of things could be wrong with the car. I used to just accept these flaws. I felt it wasn't worth the effort or stress to exchange the jeans for the proper size and considered it a lesson to myself: "be sure to try the jeans on before buying them, dummy." Put in the effort up front to avoid the stress later if something doesn't work out. I never really put the time in up front, I just don't have the time, so it always comes down to what I do after the damage has been done. Do I return the item or exchange it or get it fixed?

Lately I've been putting significantly more effort into getting things right. I am sure to make exchanges, I am sure to get things fixed no matter how long it takes... and you know what? It sucks. I tell myself that once it's all made right to my satisfaction, then I will be completely happy with whatever it is and I will no longer doubt or wring my hands and all will be good, but I'm not sure that's how it works. Instead, I feel like things are never right. There's always something that can be made more fixed. I am stressing over things because they aren't perfect and I think it's my responsibility to ensure things are made perfect so I don't have to worry about them anymore.

Moving on from the generally material issues to the physical and psychological... now we're talking about me. I have experienced chronic pain for pretty much as long as I can remember. Generally neck and back pain, but there are plenty of off-shoots that affect every micron of my body. Pain in my arms, legs, face... that's right, my face hurts. Lots. I actually take pain-killers not because of my back pain, but because my face hurts. I've seen lots of doctors and had lots of diagnostic tests and pretty much everyone tells me I'm healthy. So I wonder, does everyone feel this much pain all the time? I've assumed it's normal, but at some point, this much pain can't be normal. Living can't always hurt this much, right? So my big dilemma is how much effort should I put into making this fixed? What is a satisfactory amount of pain and discomfort? How much should I bitch and moan about needing to be "healthy" by my standards and not the doctors'? Do I even know what that means?

I suppose it comes down to a quality of life thing. Life is important and you should put some effort into improving your life, not just for yourself, but because if you are happy, then others around you will be happier as well. But what level of attention on one's comfort is "enough?" How much time, energy and money should I invest in myself? Particularly when I already feel tapped out on all the other things in my life?

I feel completely unguided here. There's no metric for any of this, but I desperately want to find one. If you are this tall, you can ride the coaster. What does it take to do the fun stuff in life without being distracted and drained by all the crappy stuff? And since all of this seems self-induced, finding that balance is pretty much the most important thing ever. So really, how much is enough?

How To Be Alone

Tanya Davis wrote this wonderful poem called, oddly enough, "How To Be Alone," which she put to (some) music and filmed with the help of Andrea Dorfman. Please watch the resulting video: How To Be Alone.

Personally, I love it. Probably because it speaks so much to how I live my life. Maybe not entirely with the same joy that Tanya expresses, but I do do these things, both because I like to and because, as someone who is alone, I have to. What's important in all this, though, is my primary credo: I shalt not sacrifice mine life for lack of someone to experience it with. In other words, don't not do things because you don't have anyone to do them with. Don't miss out on great movies because you're friends are too lame to join you. Don't eat ramen when you could be out enjoying a meal at a nice restaurant. Don't avoid the park because you're afraid of looking odd by yourself. Don't miss a chance to see a great band because you're friends complain they don't know the music. Don't be afraid to sit at home and get drunk in the silence or go out and get dizzy watching the crowds go about their shopping at the mall. Live your life, whether with others or by yourself.

I do all of those things, often happily. Am I happy all the time? Nay, I am not. Though I am happily alone, I am unhappily lonely. Those are different states and I still get them confused depending on the perspective. I will say that there are lots of things I would really like to do with someone or someones and I often miss spending time with my friends and loved ones. But I firmly and steadfastly believe that even without these people around, there is life to be lived and I don't want to miss out. What about you? What do you do or would like to do alone?

Are you sure?

Yes. Because now there's a real study that suggests the heaviest users of Facebook are narcissists and people with low self-esteem. Though, I really feel like a 100 person sample (of college students) really isn't enough to make this conclusion statistically significant. I thought the most value came from this:
Narcissism and Self-Esteem on Facebook was written by York University undergraduate student Soraya Mehdizadeh. Speaking to CTV.ca, she summarized how everyone participates in social media, saying "you very carefully construct the image of yourself that you want people to see."

Mehdizadeh went on to say "that's why so many people get paranoid if their boss sees them on Facebook. They're worried that they don't project the same image there that they project in their workplace."

Which I can definitely see and agree with. We post what we want others (who don't know us) to see and suppress the rest. Why? Because we can. But how different is that from the real world where we might suppress some of our more jerk-like tendencies? If we don't express those jerk-like tendencies, does that mean we aren't a jerk or just that we aren't a jerk "most of the time?"

Alright, thinking about this got me to places I wasn't expecting... I guess that's a good thing?

Desktops Are Sooooo Last Year

Unless you've been living in an empty desktop computer case (one of those old beige steel types) you've probably noticed the decline of the desktop computer over the last eight years or so. More and more people have ditched their bulky desktops in favor of more portable laptops. Farhad Manjoo at Slate wrote an article on just this subject and he raises some interesting, though mostly obvious points. Netbooks, tablets, and laptops are taking over the market, and surpassed desktops purchased for the first time last year. This makes sense when you consider that laptops can now have roughly equivalent performance to desktops for only a slightly greater cost and that differential should continue to shrink in coming years.

Personally, I still prefer desktops. Laptops make concessions in available ports and obviously what internal components are available and accessible, as well as CPUs and video cards. At home, my primary PC is a laptop that I keep hooked up to about six external devices (thank you USB hub) and two monitors. It doesn't move from its shelf unless I seriously need to take it somewhere. In the past year, I think this has happened maybe two or three times when I went to a friend's for some group gaming. My gaming machine is a desktop and I don't expect that to change anytime soon. I think my brother recently spent something like $4000 on a hardcore gaming laptop. I could probably build the same thing for under $2000 in a desktop and I would still be able to upgrade it later when the need arises. Of course there's that point where you have to replace the CPU, which means replacing the motherboard and RAM and a few of the other components, but I can still reuse hard drives and optical drives and mice and so on. I just can't justify a laptop for a primarily gaming-centric machine. And I think I am in the minority on this point with the exception of the enthusiast gamers who think the lights should dim when the machine is powered up.

I do have the opinion, though, that at some point, all machines will be "fast enough," whether they are desktops or laptops or tablets or cell phones, that they can run whatever is needed of them and all it will come down to is what format you want to work in. That may mean email and IM on the cell phone, spreadsheets on the tablet, and gaming on the big screen, but the machines themselves will be roughly indistinguishable from each other. I think I can live with that.

Help me out here...

Why does it look like the Winter Olympic medals have been left in the oven too long and have gotten all melty?

Awesome People Are People Too...

I wrote this for posting on another site, so while the context is a bit vague, I think the message is still worthy.

And just to alleviate any potential confusion that post title may generate in readers, I am not referring to myself. Though, while I am a people, I am not awesome. Now, I have read a lot of profiles on here and elsewhere (dating sites or otherwise) and there are so many interesting people out there who talk about their travels around the world and how many people they've helped and all of their awesome adventures in being awesome people and hell, some of these people just sound like modern day heroes/heroines. They're awesome. Actually, too awesome. You spend half your life in other countries using your supernatural healing abilities to cure sick children and turning dirt into Twinkies for starving babes while drinking wine with your best friends over sushi and Ethernopian foods (though, I don't see as many people going "Yum! Kitfu!") how is your life not completely and utterly satisfying? And I know it isn't satisfying because you're on a dating slash social networking site looking for partners (in the not gross one-night-stand-sense, not that I'm judging...), so that can't mean everything is completely awesome. See how I used my powers of deduction there? You can call me Holmes.

Let's face it, life isn't about what you do, it's who you're doing it with. Dirt to Twinkies is a great trick, but unless someone is there to help you hand them out (or at least take pictures) then how satisfying is the experience? I'm not trying to minimize the joy of helping people out, that's great and satisfying in its own way, but it isn't shared with that one person you really want to be sharing it with. Am I right? So here we are, alone in our otherwise perfect lives waiting for our voices screamed out into the darkest night to finally reflect off something and maybe find purchase somewhere in someone else's head. I'd like to think it's working out for some percentage of the populace, anyway. Me, not so much.

The thing is, I'm really not a very attractive human, and humans in general prefer to avoid the unattractive people. I know, I do it myself. Which may have some of you scratching your heads because at the beginning up there I talked about my extensive conversations with myself that I like to have when it's quiet. Well, obviously I don't have those conversations in front of mirrors. Moving on... What do unattractive people do to be heard? Or, if we really want to get pop-culture deep, I could take an example from the movie Avatar which raised this concept of being "seen" not in the literal sense, but how another person sees you for who you are. Not on the outside, not on the inside, but the whole person. I want someone to see me. I'm pretty sure that's all anyone really wants, right? (That's Sherlock Holmes.)

Even these perfect people with perfectly amazingly awesome lives? Yes, even them. And I don't know, maybe they have trouble too. Maybe people just see their awesomeness but still fail to see the whole person. Fail to see the flaws, fail to see the inner monologues. Fail to see the personal tragedies in their lives. Fail to see their appreciation for obscure pop-culture references. Fail to understand obscure pop-culture references (kids these days...).

So here's the point I've managed to avoid for the last four paragraphs. Awesome people who seem to have their life together, turning dirt into Twinkies and such, they play this game like "oh, I am so independent and awesome *holds up some dirt* I don't need anything else in my life!" Except they do, because whether you are awesome or just a 4, you're still human (maybe?) and it's a fairly consistent component of humanity that we crave social connections. Not just "oh, I'm helping the childrens!" social connections, but real, true, honest, "let's hold hands" social connections. Someone to share crappy mornings with and Cheerios with and bad weather and promotions and day trips into the city to visit the zoo and yes, even dirt Twinkies.

And right about now I'm realizing there's no way to bring this back to being about me without it getting stupidly awkward. Oooo! Shiny! ...