Monthly Archives: September 2005

7 Answers to 7 Questions

7 things I plan to do before I die:

  • Have at least one moment in time where I am not afraid to go to the dentist, optometrist, or doctor because I don’t want to hear that I have cavities, an outdated prescription, or an ulcer.
  • Make a movie or short film.
  • Learn the basics of auto maintenance.
  • Have a computer with internet access or at least a television in a house bathroom.
  • Read the Bible from front to end and at least one other religious text (Talmud, Koran, Book of Mormon, etc.) from cover to cover.
  • Get a dog or preferably two.
  • Learn another language.

7 things I can do:

  • Sing all 50 states in alphabetical order. The real states, that is. I can’t do that with the Trumanverse states. Yet.
  • Touch my nose and walk in a straight line no matter how plastered I am.
  • Make unbelievably good egg-based breakfasts and chili-based dips.
  • Make myself sound more educated and intelligent than I am by using unnecessarily long and obscure words without making myself sound like the intellectually insecure pompous prick sort of person that uses long and obscure words to sound more intelligent and educated than they are.
  • Find something to appreciate about any moderately coherent artistic work.
  • Block out the whole world in pursuit of a singular task for hours on-end some times and yet be completely unable focus most of the rest of the time.
  • See and understand both sides of an issue, even when I feel strongly one way or the other.

7 things I cannot do:

  • Carry a tune.
  • Keep a straight face when I witness or think something hilarious. I’m told that my face lights up when I think of something funny.
  • Keep my mouth shut whenever most appropriate to.
  • Be comfortable in a room full of strangers.
  • Keep track of time mentally.
  • Dance.
  • Let go.

7 things that [used to] attract me to another person [before I got married and lost all notice in women other than my lovely and talented wife whom I love more than all others]:

  • Intelligence.
  • Marches to the beat of a different drummer. I don’t get along well with normal people.
  • Competence. I am really attracted to people that are really, really good at something. This applies to friends, but moreso to significant others.
  • Patience. I couldn’t survive a relationship with someone that didn’t have patience.
  • Sociability. Someone needs to help me get out.
  • Mental instability. Hey, it doesn’t say that I have to like the fact I was attracted to a particular sort.
  • Red or black hair. Everybody’s gotta be frivolous sometimes, no?

how’s that for a disclaimer?

  • Very good
  • Very true
  • Very good and very true
  • The words of wise man
  • The very good and very true disclaimer of a wise man
  • A good way to get out of trouble.
  • The very good and very true disclaimer of a wise man that are effective at getting someone out of trouble.

7 celebrity crushes:

  • Lisa Loeb
  • Nabiki Tendo
  • Nicole Kidman
  • Molly Shannon
  • Claire Danes
  • Penelope Ann Miller
  • Sela Ward

7 Things I say the most:

  • “I didn’t do it.”
  • “Sorry, I can’t smell it.” Having a poor sense of smell is not the curse one might think it to be.
  • “Oh, sorry, I was just talking to myself.”
  • “Outstanding!”
  • “Well, it’s complicated…”
  • “Ready to get up and face the day?!?!” This one is not-so-popular with Clancy.
  • “Uhm.”

7 bloggers I am tagging:

  • Hey, I already answered 7. This is 8. Sorry, no dice… 🙂

Category: Coffeehouse

This guy reminded me of something. He’s talking about those annoying “I ______ and I vote!” with the blank filled by some cause that the person fervently buys in to.

I’m not much of a bumper sticker person. I’ve got a Southern Tech Alumni sticker on my window, but that’s about it. I do not have nor will I likely ever have anything remotely political on my car. I generally believe that a philosophy that can fit on a bumper-sticker is poorly developed. To each their own, though.

Anyway, what I think would be cool would be to have one of those “And I Vote” bumper stickers with some absolutely stupid belief or detail. “I was abducted by aliens and I vote!” or “I believe in cannibalism and I vote!” or just “I can’t dress myself and I vote!”

It would be kind of fun… for about two minutes.

Category: Road

Woman drives recklessly. Man fails to compensate for woman’s reckless driving. Woman yells at man. Man flips woman the bird. Woman shoots man’s finger off.

Amusing story and not-so-much what I see a lot of out here. I’d expect that sort of thing back in Colosse, but the drivers out here are remarkably better. No one up here seems to recognize that, though. They complain and complain, but really have no idea how good they have it. Southern drivers, on the other hand, complain less. I’m not sure if it’s because they’ve resigned themselves to being surrounded by bad drivers or simply because they are bad drivers and don’t want to cast the first stone.

Category: Road

Helen the Everyday Stranger has a thoughtful post on gender stereotypes in movies. The two (three?) of you that have been reading me a while may recall that is a subject of some interest to me. My general view is that there are definitely stereotypes and most stereotypes have a counterpart that, being equally flawed, peeves the other side as well. The know-it-all wife suggests that women have to do everything, for instance, is countered by the can’t-do-anything-right husband. I thought that I’d written on this, but I can’t find the post to save my life.

In any case, Helen observed something while watching the Horse Whisperer:

Last night I watched Horse Whisperer on tv, even though the satellite kept kicking out and even though the movie is mediocre at best-while I like Kristin Scott Thomas and I think Scarlett Johansson is the bee’s knees, the movie was one of those sappy tear-jerker types that follows the following pattern:

– Rugged, quiet durable man
– Woman in an unsatisfying relationship, whose attentions are devoted to something else to get through the days
– Unsatisfied Woman meets Rugged Man
– Rugged Man and Unsatisfied Woman hook up
– Unsatisfied Woman feels torn, but ultimately returns to unhappy relationship due to a sense of obligation, leaving Rugged Man to spend the rest of his life mending fences or whatever the fuck Rugged Men do.

This pattern is repeated in most sappy chick films. Bridges of Madison County is another good example. The people decide to continue their lives, lives in which the woman is ultimately responsible for something that means she has to live that life, and the man is a nomad, live-off-the-land kind of guy. I sit there on the couch, drinking a gin and tonic and nursing the beginnings of one hell of a cold, and I think: What a stupid movie. Why can’t the woman be the live-off-the-land, wild exotic creature, for once, instead of the Unsatisfied Woman? Why is it always the man that gets to be the one with the luck of the nomad?

My first thought is that as a woman she would be in a better position to answer that question than I. These films are, after all, are not made with the male ego in mind. On that score I would guess that it’s because independent and self-directed men are in high demand despite a good portion of society attempting to change course on that. A woman is also more likely than a man to pride herself on being supportive. And outside of tastes, for good or for ill women are more likely to find themselves in a supporting position than an emotionally independent one. Helen, as she points out, is an exception to that stereotype.

As it so happens, so am I. If I’d had my druthers, I probably would have spent the rest of my life in the city that I was raised in. Range-roaming? Not so much. I obviously came willingly, but Clancy had to drag me out to new horizons and chance-taking. I find women like Clancy and Helen interesting, if only because I have a habit of seeking out people different from me. Helen is apparently a former military brat and has never really had a home. Clancy had a home and escaped it at the very first opportunity.

Clancy and I have another year or so here and then we live Mormonville for somewhere else for a little while followed by somewhere else. Just thinking about it exhausts me. Interestingly, and sort of lending credence to stereotypes (which are likely at least partly self-perpetualizing) I often found myself out-of-step with most young ladies. It wasn’t that we didn’t see eye-to-eye. We did, but when I looked forward I saw a very dark abyss of isolation and never moving beyond pre-set boundaries. Of never being free and of living a life of servitude for the spouse and the kids. Neither wanting to bust out and therefore just staying in night-after-endless-night.

That feeling alone accounts for why I left Julie after several years. Some years later a similar guy with a similar temperament left her largely for the same reasons. Ironically the prospect of stasis lead to adventuring. Not much, though, as I latched on to the next girl I found and geared to settle down and my successor with her latched on to her predecessor. In some ways, we stuck to our homesteading ways. Or at least I tried to before I met someone bound to end up anywhere-but-where-we-were. Anyhow, myself , my Julie’s ex, his ex-wife-slash-fiance, and my wife are all different ducks.

Which brings me back to popular entertainment. Of the five of us, only Julie really buys in to mainstream romantic movies. And Julie only got that way cause my predecessor with her was a domineering military-wannabee-type. Well, that may not be range-roaming, but he strived to be a stereotypical guy. And I suspect we all look at movies like the Horse Whisperer and ask ourselves “How come all the movies end up this way?”

Category: Theater

In her look at the upcoming movie “Crash,” Becky broaches the subject of racism. The film apparently tackles the subject in a non-formulaic manner. It sounds like a breath of fresh air. I get nervous when the subject of race gets brought up in the same tired PSA manner context. Racism is bad. Racists are bad people.


Let’s look at the first statement (that racism is bad) first. Racism, narrowly defined, is indeed a bad thing. Calling people names or refusing to serve them because they look different is… good god… it’s bad. I feel like a dang Public Service Announcement voiceover for even having to say it. We’ve moved beyond that point in the debate. The point we’re at now is… a little more complicated.

The question is whether or not when an immigrant is shot 42 times was it because of his complexion?

The question is when we instinctively shift away from a black man as we walk down the street is it because he’s black or because he’s wearing chains and baggy clothes?

The question is when someone tells a racist joke do we take them to task?

The question is do we oppose government programs because we mentally see the beneficiaries as being… different from us?

The question is whether or not we should give preferences to people historically discriminated against when stacked up against a while or Asian with a better resume?

These are the questions we face, and while they’re serious questions we should recognize that we’re a long way from Jim Crow. The question isn’t whether or not people of different races should be treated with equal dignity and respect, it’s what exactly equal dignity and respect mean when say it?

I’m trying to avoid getting political here. To be honest, I’m not that interested in hearing differing views on affirmative action or Jesse Jackson or Pat Buchanan. Rather, I’m trying to say that the issues at hand are complicated, but popular entertainment almost never treats them as such. Nor does it treat the players of the morality tale.

That brings me to the second statement, that racists are bad people. As long as we perpetuate this myth, no one is going to be looking into themselves and wondering if some of their behaviors and beliefs aren’t informed by the percieved differences by ethnic and racial groups. Presenting every racist individual as a member of the KKK is simply not helpful.

A while back DC Comics had a series called The Kents that explored the history of Clark Kent’s adoptive family. I never read the series, but the premise itself put me off. The Kents, as it turns out, were ardent abolitionists and borderline-pariahs in their community because they fought the good fight against racism. As it turns out it has been established that the Waynes helped out in the underground railroad to free the slaves. It props up both the Kents and the Waynes, which is good, but it completely sidesteps the very complicated issue that a lot of otherwise good people had some very, very unfortunate beliefs and participated in an inhumane institution that destroyed families and lives.

And with that, there are story possibilities abound. The Facts of Life, of all shows, did an admirable job where one of the characters discovered her ancestor was a segregationist. Granted, they chose the least sympathetic character (Blair, the snob), but the treatment was very sympathetic. Roseanne also had a good episode where the characters were left to wonder if they had let racism taint their reactions to various events. Solid stuff and not preachy.

And what those portrayals would really accomplish is giving people the ability to investigate their own behavior without having to condemn themselves as bigots if they find out that their reactions to certain things are based on preconcieved notions based on racial perceptions. That would in turn allow them to change their behavior. But no one is going to alter their behavior a bit if it requires first admitting that they have horns growing out of their temples.

The truth is that we all treat those different from us differently. It’s human nature. A lot of people have generally negative views of other ethnic groups, often unconsciously. On the other end of the spectrum some people are extremely condescending. And in some ways it’s a catch-22 wherein however you treat people different than you you’re guilty of something in someone’s eyes. But most people are just content to say that they’re not a part of the problem and the la-dee-dah portrayal in popular media does nothing but reinforce that erroneous self-image.

Category: Coffeehouse

Clancy and I spent the weekend at a friend’s place up in Shoshona. Dave and I have been friends since high school and we were attendants at one another’s weddings, so we’re fairly close. By pure chance we ended up moving within a couple hours of one another.

Dave is one of the best people I’ve known. Extremely intelligent, pretty charismatic, and he has moral aspirations far above and beyond what I would even attempt. Two of his moral stances are environmentalism and anti-materialism. All but the most rabid right-wingers like to consider themselves one or the other, but Dave walks the walk. To give you an idea, he said with honest lament that as much as he would really enjoy being able to take cold two-minute showers, a warm morning shower is his vice.

He doesn’t hold these ideas in a showie look-at-me kind of way like some. Which in some ways makes it harder.

When you’re a guest in someone’s home, the last thing that you want to do is offend. If in the home of conservative Christian sorts, I try not to use the Lord’s name in vain even if I don’t consider it a big deal to do so. It’s a matter of respect.

But unfortunately, we both kind of spent the weekend worried that we were offending by taking too-long showers or eating or drinking too much or what-have-you. I also bit my tongue before mentioning that some of what I was wearing was bought at Walmart. That’s the last thing that Dave would intend, but it’s kind of hard not to think about it when confronted with someone that’s constantly striving to live up to his value system.

On the upshot, it’s people like those that propel you to take stock of who you are in comparison to who you would like to be. He retouched me with some of my younger hippier beliefs. He and I disagree on an awful lot of things, but it makes me even look at those ideals I have that doesn’t in a more intense way. In a good way, though. Because he doesn’t take a holier-than-thou posture, he doesn’t make me defensive or make me feel like I’m lacking. Taking stock means not only looking at the distance between where you are and where you would like to be, but also the distance between where you are and where you started out from.

Category: Coffeehouse
Pure Nerd
60 % Nerd, 43% Geek, 47% Dork
For The Record:

A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.
A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.
A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.
You scored better than half in Nerd, earning you the title of: Pure Nerd.

The times, they are a-changing. It used to be that being exceptionally smart led to being unpopular, which would ultimately lead to picking up all of the traits and tendences associated with the “dork.” No-longer. Being smart isn’t as socially crippling as it once was, and even more so as you get older: eventually being a Pure Nerd will likely be replaced with the following label: Purely Successful.


Also, you might want to check out some of my other tests if you’re interested in any of the following:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Professional Wrestling

Love & Sexuality



My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

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You scored higher than 56% on nerdiness
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You scored higher than 57% on geekosity
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You scored higher than 84% on dork points

Link: The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test written by donathos on Ok Cupid


I got the test from my cooler counterpart Barry. Not sure how much I agree with the results – particularly on the dork index. Which is not to say that I’m not a dork, but the 84th percentile? Given how much I agree with the general assessments outlined here and here, I’m either a hypocrite or the test is off-base. My guess is that’s it’s conflating introversion with dorkity and/or (more likely) a lot of the folks taking this test vastly overestimate their computer skills. While I agree with the given definitions, I consider a dork’s difficulty in social situations to be more a product of a lack of skill rather than a personal preference. Not that I am unbiased, of course.

Category: Server Room