Posts Tagged ‘opinion

16
Sep
17

New Computer, at My Own Risk

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I wasn’t sure I’d stick my nose in here yet with the new baby, my new computer.  The last one is in sad shape, and I miss it dearly.  This new one is up to the date in the latest heap of technical glitches, as is tradition.  And, it has come at possibly the worst time in my emotional life.  My old PC, despite critics opinions, was pretty rock solid and became a good friend, even if I did very little with it.  I didn’t use all the bells and whistles, and it’s a shame, because it had a few good ones.  I could have been making many movies.

When I first started my previous computer, it came in a nice box with labels and a manual I could hold in my hand.  I could read all day about troubleshooting and all kinds of program features, provided I add an antenna or some kind of card.  All my trial app worries were settled with “optimization.”  I could label DVDs and easily restore the system myself if it had trouble…or so I thought.  As much as I was convinced it wasn’t the best computer at the time, it grew on me.  It became a friend.

I didn’t call tech support once.  I had someone help me through a few steps, and the rest kinda worked itself out.  I did not have any problems until I needed to register it online.  Updating was a problem, for sure.  [I was aiming to keep it offline as a personal word processor of sorts…til my “online computer” was no longer being accepted online by the changing software tides and my old, reliable internet service cheated me out of $300 or so.  [Call the company, and you get the outsourced squad from India trying to con you into alternative accounts and paid features.  There were no alternative services to upgrade to with the company.  It was a dinosaur teasing me into thinking it was still functional.]  I found alternate means to get online and was soon back in the swing of typing and, well, still struggling to connect with good people.

There was an incident or two near the end when text strangely looked fuzzy and squashed…and when I ultimately did something to the hard drive.  But, overall, over the past 8 plus years, it was working just fine.

The new computer has a long road to walk.

  1. It did not come in a nice box.  It was shipped to me in a slim box tossed into an oversized box with no labels and little to no bubble packing.  It was bouncing around the poorly taped carton.  I nearly threw a fit the day I found it on the porch.
  2. The battery wiggles in its socket.  Is that a concern?  You tell me.
  3. The manual can be found through a maze of start-up menu AND online.  Great.  So, when I have a system failure, I can hopefully find someone with a computer phone or computer to borrow and look online for the manual.  That’s user-friendly conservation of paper.  NOT.
  4. I have already spent over 20 hrs. trying to get through to tech support services.  [Don’t ever bother using a phone.  Online services only.]  I lost a whole day just solving one problem.  Let’s hope the others don’t return.  But…
  5. Research shows many apps have a problem with the latest OS.  And, many if not most apps have had conversions to accommodate the new OS.  All hail the latest flash-in-the-pan labyrinth software and tough luck to all who had the previous versions.  So, before you leap for that new movie maker or drawing software, be sure it’s fit for your OS, especially if it’s the latest edition.  Back when I was using Win 98, people harassed me and boasted XP…when they were not complaining about glitches and crashes.  This whole OS business is like a car market.  And, just when you pick a new car–or if you’re the slow-to-change type who sticks by your old car–someone comes along to make you feel inadequate in their different new car.
  6. Either you automate everything and run the risk of personal info going everywhere or you try to set settings to “recommended protection levels” and find nothing working, like the new Edge browser that blocks every website I type in, opening another MSN home page.  That is, except for this site which apparently is okay on Edge but not the latest IE?  Again, confusing and frustrating, and I feel like I am standing outside in my underwear, waiting for some violating hand to appear.
  7. As it is, things open and activate themselves, merely presenting notices that I may or may not get to before they disappear.  Little icons appear on the task bar and then disappear when I go to look at them.  It’s kind of like a horror movie when the lil creatures are scurrying around to the sound of keystrokes.  Apps want to invite themselves over to my place; they’re supposedly “suggestions.”  But, some seem to worm their way into a parking place.  You kick one guy out, and another eventually appears at the door.
  8. It comes with voices.  I have a hard enough time coping with the voices in my head.  No, not split personality disorder.  Just voices.  And, this thing has the dry male voice that sounds like Stephen Hawkings on dope and a female assistant with a weird name who thinks she’s slick like Shania Twain or Taylor Swift but sounding more like Scarlett Johansson in She.  I’m not Lars, and she isn’t a real girl.  Let’s not turn this into a tragic ending.

[On that note, I plan on writing an irregular series, potentially titled “A Date with Cortana Corona,” in which I tell a mildly amusing story about a day or night with the vocal PC assistant.  Stay tuned.]

Now, I can’t make any movies, the art programs are reduced in ability, though they advertise stellar new features.  Some require subscriptions and better editions at cost.  So, it seems everything has gone Office 365 or Photoshop.  What ever happened to the days you could buy a piece of boxed software, install it and run it to your heart’s content?  Why are so many fun things turned into APPs that tug strings away from you to lure you into some personal info trap?  What sense is there in deflecting junk mail and malware/spyware when everything wants to run automatically and update almost daily to the point it slows everything down or removes a previously functional function?

When the best thing you can do on a (new) computer is play solitaire, you just want to put your head down and cry.  I could delete all the trial apps and free up some sort of speed space people keep talking about.  And, my computer would look like a naked electrical socket (with the wires and screws showing).  This new computer feels a tad cold and alien, like my left arm and that spot in my eye.

I don’t want my outlet, my workspace to be one more annoyance.  [Then again, maybe this is just the routine with breaking in a new “friend.”  Maybe every horse cannot be a quick learner.]  Or, maybe, like Thelma and Louise, I just take this thing by it’s virtual hand and drive off a cliff.

Maybe it’s not that serious.  Maybe this is just a heads-up sort of sign, telling me to spend less time with a computer and more time with people (as some family members like to preach, though they get paid for doing their jobs on computers).  [But, I know someone is going to demand I use one for something, for job searches, work applications or education.  For shopping because stores are being closed out by a certain online convenience store that aims to colonize Mars and replace most of the workforce with robots.]

People philosophize about taking risks and change being the only constant (the new version of “death and taxes”); maybe this is just how it goes; it’s the Hunger Games, people.  Let’s hope I don’t die of bee stings, rabid dogs or food poisoning.  I’d give a finger salute, but you wouldn’t see it, anyway.  And, I don’t have a photo ready to upload.

 

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07
Sep
17

It has a name…a floater!…or is it?

***

So, I went for an eye exam.  And, I asked the doc about this spot that appears in my one eye when I blink under certain light conditions, usually when my focus is up close and in lower light, often at the computer or in the shower.  It can make straight lines look wobbly.  In a blink, it appears–well, it has changed shape in two years.  It started out as a speckled oval, then a jagged oval, then an oval with a frame, and, most recently, it looks like a small black moon in one corner of a white sun.  And, if I look in a mirror, I can periodically see a yellowish oval or gash at the top of the iris.

The doc said it’s a floater and that it could either work itself out (though he didn’t sound too confident about that) or multiply over time.  He said it’s often brought upon by trauma to the eye/body.  And, he said it shouldn’t be a concern; so get used to it.

[But, it concerns me because it can really get annoying and distort my vision.  As an artist and a perfectionist, it could really be unsettling to go on this way!  It messes with my eye color and could ruin my ability to appreciate the beauty of things I see or make accurate judgments.]

While he did give me an ounce of reassurance–and I want to stay optimistic–I just decided to see what I could find online about this.  But, most of the videos I find speak of floaters as those tiny specks or strings you see float by the eye when you move your eye out of focus.  I know those are likely harmless.  I thought those were worth concern when the doc asked me the last time if they were a problem.  He also mentioned seeing spots.  Well, now, I’d say there is a spot, but it’s not whizzing by my eye.

The doc also handed me a “fine” eye health report, saying I don’t even need glasses, for now.  Well, that’s great!…except.  There’s that thing in my eye that looks like a burn in a film strip sometimes when I blink and a yellow spot in the mirror.

As I poke around the web, I found something on CSR, central serious retinopathy.  And, while I am rather certain what I have is not at the back of the eye, the spot I see when I blink DOES seem to match the images I found, resembling a sort of pitted olive.

The best solutions I can find speak of either lens replacement, gel replacement/extraction or laser surgery.  And, the side effects could be more fatal than putting up with the distortion and seeing what happens.

So, what is it?  And, how do I deal with it?

I wrote about this some time ago.  But, I am still curious if anyone is familiar with such a distortion and any treatment they may have received/tried.

 

17
Aug
17

New, New, New, New…Reruns?

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Have you ever seen the movie Back to the Future?  And, do you recall the part when Marty, in the past, claims a certain black-and-white TV show is a rerun before the kid in the room asks, “What’s a rerun?”  I find myself revisiting that scene as I realize the perception differences of kids and adults, especially in this modern age of DVRs and internet access to just about everything.

When I was a kid, the family had one TV, maybe two later on when I was nearing my teens.  I didn’t think about reruns.  But, they were there.  I was immersed in SYNDICATION, watching shows that had originally aired about a decade ago but were playing again and again in my day.  I didn’t think much about the strangeness of fashions, makeup or hairstyles.  If the show was black-and-white, it was too old for me.  If the jokes didn’t make sense, I really wasn’t thinking about them.  I was merely watching grown-ups be silly or cartoons in general.  If my family laughed, I considered laughing.  Only one sis ever laughed every time someone else laughed first.  Even at an early age, I would not be the pawn of the laugh track or “live studio audience.”

People would say, “TV rots your brain.”  And, us “rebels” would watch all we could and think nothing of it.  Despite all the TV I watched, it didn’t seem to impact my attention span.  I always thought I was a good student, a good listener.  I became a well-behaved, patient adult.

Nowadays, families have TVs in multiple rooms and some kind of device receiving a signal that can either transmit “broadcast” TV shows or “internet TV”/”web TV.”  They can skip commercials and zip from one show to the next with the flick of a finger.  And, if commercial breaks aren’t littered with mindless ads for cars and services like “wireless” television, at-home education, retirement options and ways to cut corners for the financially challenged (like the only people who should be watching TV are stay-at-home parents, retired folks, unemployed bums and future thieves?)…there’s this constant drive for what’s NEW.  Yet, the promise of NEW is fleeting and makes one feel like a desert wanderer waiting for some chopper to deliver water.

My nephews, possibly as a result, have the attention spans of fleas. They struggle to get through a whole show that may only be 20 minutes long.  They want to know what’s next.  What’s new.  And, though the magic box promises new essentially daily, flashing timers and such to announce the oncoming glimmers of delight, the actual NEW is kinda like expecting a response from a letter to Kris Kringle.

They are dazzled by the commercials I, now as an adult, would rather skip.  Truth be told, most commercials aren’t as nearly entertaining as they were when I was little.  But, maybe it’s just a matter of perspective?  These lame ads I see are new to them, not me.  Well, some are new to me but annoying to watch over and over.  Heck, I don’t remember getting tired of seeing certain commercials as a kid.  I didn’t look forward to commercials, either, but they were rarely if ever bothersome.

And, while I grew up not minding or even noticing reruns, these kids may or may not notice reruns.  But, once they DO realize they’ve seen something before, their reactions are mixed.  Sometimes, they want to see the same show, again (provided it’s something they have watched in the last few days or weeks, as they like to replay even the shortest of video clips).  Or, I hear them sounding like adults when they say, “This one, again?  Why isn’t it a new one?”

As a big kid myself, I think of a not-so-old episode of Teen Titans Go! in which Robin warns the other team members about “the spicy life,” the pursuit of increased spiciness.  People get tantalized into chasing NEW to keep the economy flowing and, consequentially, stimulating impulse shopping (which often empties people’s pockets to the point of concern/neglect).  It’s not healthy to anything but the economy, and even that is questionable.

The promise of NEW.

Why can’t we be comfortable with what we already have and enjoy?  As the old saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, why fix it?”  And, if it needs fixing, let’s work that out.

It doesn’t take a genius to see people are struggling to keep coming up with new ideas in some areas.  Maybe they’re burnt out.  Instead of replacing them, maybe we just need to relax and get comfortable with…dare I say it…routine.  And, let new ideas be a blessing from above, not something we force from the cow for fleeting profits.

 

21
Jul
17

In the End…of Linkin Park?

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I had just come home from my day job when I heard on the news about Linkin Park’s lead singer killing himself, a father of six, supposedly married (which I didn’t even know)…but happily married?  There’s a question.  I also did not know he had addiction troubles.  But, looking at the majority of song titles the band has released, I can see a pattern.

Crawling (in my skin…these wounds; they will not heal.  Fear is how I fall, confusing what is real.)  –Possible itching from a drug fix/addiction; check.

Breaking the Habit  –A cry for help, a desire to quit; check.

(I’ve become so) Numb.  (‘Tired of being what you want me to be.)  –A pain in the back pushing him toward his “medicine;” check.

In the End (it doesn’t even matter).  –I’d say that was the start of the road map to feeling worthless, right off album one.  Other depressing and bleak songs followed.

Nothing really about relationship troubles…

Unless there’s more to “Lying Away From You” than meets the ear.  I most often thought any mention of relationship conflicts in the music was related to teenagers and their parents.  I figured the music was geared towards rebellious teens.  But, perhaps, I was looking the wrong way.

I first heard Linkin Park around 2003 while walking home (wearing a headset).  I thought I wouldn’t like their preach-y hip-hop style, at first.  But, the longer I listened, the more of the lyrics I understood; and the more I grew to like their albums.  I almost have every one they made.

There were a few songs, released not too long ago, that sounded like overkill of despair and anger.  So, I kinda turned a blind eye to what may have been the most recent album of “pop” songs?  I haven’t heard any of those, as far as I can recall.  I wonder if the band didn’t have the same sort of mid-career crisis it seems Katy Perry may be having (among other talents).

For some reason, these talents beat one form of music til they wear out and then get the fear in their heads that they need to change directions.  And, in my personal opinion, I’m okay with it.  Diversity isn’t always bad.

Taylor Swift went from country to pop-ish music, and that suited me just fine.  [Maybe she averted “bad blood” or emotional breakdown by taking a concert tour break.]

Katy Perry started with gospel (when I knew nothing of her, before I knew she was a blonde named Kate Hudson).  But, going raven-haired and switching to scandalous rock got my attention.  And, now?  I’m not sure where head is going.

Back to Linkin Park and the lead singer fiasco.

So, it seems Chester B. was close pals with Chris Cornell who also took his own life earlier this year.  Chester played at a memorial event.  Who will play at Chester’s memorial?  And, will they be next…to, you know?  I sure hope this isn’t some scary, accursed chain of events.

I would create some kind of memorial for the guy(s), but I don’t know how to feel about a father of six taking his own life.  It makes me shudder.  [I don’t mind making memorials for those who die at the hand of fate/God.  I’ve made memorials for countless pets to ease owners’ hearts.]

Life for me hasn’t exactly been wine and roses, but I’ve been surviving the best I can…or as well as I feel able under the conditions I face.  I have come close to “the end” and don’t ever want to go back there.  So, I do what I can to avoid the edge.  Still, no matter what I do, life has a “funny” way of throwing crap at you, whether it’s to teach you a lesson or punish you for something done…perhaps in a past life?  I may not have a drug addiction, but I know how addictive certain activities and foods can be.  I must be mindful of the “golden rule” of moderation and of what I indulge.

I’ll still listen to just about anything Linkin Park has made thus far.  If this is “the end” of the band’s career, I’ll live and take what I can from the past albums.  [I had aspirations of working with Linkin Park on future movie projects.  I even had storyboards with lyrics under certain pictures.]  I’ll have to look into this “pop” music they tried making.

But, where do they go from here?  Replacing a lead singer doesn’t seem to go well for anyone.

Feel free to share your thoughts on the band and/or this recent tragedy.

16
May
17

My Response to “Self-Esteem Issues in Ohio” (Dear Abby)

*****
[Letter titled “Being Lifelong Target of Ridicule Eats at Self-Esteem.]

“Self-Esteem…in Ohio” is in their 30s and coming to terms with social/dating difficulties stemming from a lifetime of ridicule and, quite likely, manipulation, claiming to be more comfortable putting him/her self down than doing what makes him/her happy.

I’d say he/she is in an emotional rut, passing through a sad storm.  Sometimes we write things in the moment we are most emotional and it passes.  Sometimes the problem/feeling lingers.

Dear Abby suggests professional therapy.  I feel this is too easy to recommend without a sound system of assuring the doctor-patient relationship will work.  In a way, finding a good therapist is like dating except more expensive.  Heck, even online dating sites charge less per month to gamble with them.   So, isn’t a therapist asking more than a hundred bucks an hour for you to repeat your life history, before they remotely understand your problems, compounding the problem?

*****

Well, before I get started, I had a flashback to a time not too long ago when I found and visited the Dear Abby archives/website. I found the digital copy of the letter and a loooooooooooooooong line of responses from other people, reminding me of the old chatroom and message board days. There are many who have the same responses and a handful claiming to be in similar shoes. So, anything I could say wouldn’t be much different. And, I am not sure the “discussion” is any better than comments on YouTube, as they may be hard to read/filter.

On that note, I WILL still offer some thoughts and personal experience. After all, I am not a man of few words, usually. And, if I get carried away, it might be too much for the comment trail space. I might get more attention at the source. Yet, this is just as good, writing out my thoughts, self therapy, if nothing else.

If you can handle it, please take the time to read my “radically reduced” response (which, after two drafts, is still quite long). [I am slowly learning to curb myself and save some information for more appropriate, more fruitful settings. The general public viewing space is not the same as controlled group therapy.]

But, if you reader(s) care to sift through the website comments, go HERE.

*****

First off, I was surprised I didn’t think to ask it myself. Are you a man or woman suffering from this? I presumed you were a man like me which prompted me to respond. Some of what you said struck such a resounding tone with my own troubles.

Secondly, as I know I can say more than can fit in a few lines, if you read what I have to say and want to discuss these matters (perhaps more privately), my mailbox is open.

I’ll try to group my thoughts to address various topics…and keep the details brief.

LABELS

I don’t like to say I have a condition or disease as this only makes matters worse than if I simply think of my troubles as clouds overhead which can be diminished or replaced with sun, now and then. Better to think of the bad times as foul weather that will pass, I say.

ESTEEM AND/OR ANXIETY

I don’t consider what I suffer from as low self-esteem but, rather, social anxiety, a fear to engage people beyond a certain trust level. It’s not as bad as a gal I know who freaks out if a guy approaches her to be more than a friend. I can mingle with certain people if the “water” is inviting enough. I typically have little to no trouble talking to people who I don’t consider relationship prospects, but I cannot seem to approach any woman I find attractive. And, if I do begin talking with one who then turns out to be more than I can handle (or fear she will find fault with me), it becomes a real dire situation to get out of the mess. So, I tend to run through the scenario beforehand and avoid even a kind greeting or more than “Hi.” [I set myself up to fail before trying.]

I’ve tried various methods of countering my anxieties. One, which has yet to work well though I love the idea, is delivering thoughts on paper. Rather than speaking with the person directly or trying to get an email address/phone number (as some seem to make appear so easy), I would write my thoughts in a note and pass it to the person or get someone to pass it to the person. I never passed notes in school, ironically. But, I’ve done it on the job (hoping to avoid a boss telling me not to socialize on the job by inviting the person I wanted to speak with to find me after work).

You’ve probably heard the bits about loving yourself before you love another and being comfortable alone, too. I don’t know what to think of these philosophies, but they give me a headache.

I was a kid who spend adequate time alone because Mom and Dad were not available or interested in what I liked to do, other than art, and I couldn’t do art all of the time. [That’s a whole other ball of wax, source of childhood trauma.] I could occupy myself and say I was okay. But, as I matured, I needed some social connection. I had heard “no man is an island” and took it to heart. I just wasn’t very good at getting off my island and joining the natives of another. And, no one was going to show me the ropes without sounding suspicious.

We’ve likely both been “okay” on our own long enough. How long do we have to go alone before we connect with someone? Right? And, how do we define loving ourselves? How do we know we pass the test and can move on to the next step, loving someone else? Who verifies our abilities?

TALKING DOWN ABOUT ONESELF

I don’t recall doing this in my youth. What I do recall wasn’t so much me talking about myself as it was conveying what others had said/done about me. I guess it was my way of taking a punch instead of fighting back. I’m not exactly a fighter, but as the saying goes, “corner a cat and get scratched.” [I’ve had my moments when I lashed back at those who went too far.]

However, as I entered my teens, I started to seriously wonder what was wrong with me. I can relate to what you say about not making yourself happy. For the longest time, I have put up with crap, figuring I could do no better. I would not say I have low standards by any stretch, but I have taken chances without making sure the decision was right in my gut. And, usually, when I don’t follow my desires, I run into trouble. Yet, if I only listened to my inner voice, I’d probably be more anti-social than I already am, because, I suspect, some of the voices inside me have been shoved in there by my family and peers. And, why do I want to listen to them?

THERAPY AND SELF-HELP BOOKS/EXPERTS

Whenever someone has no better advice or assistance to offer, I see this often. “Get professional help.” As if it were so simple. If you’re lucky, insurance may cover some or all of it. But, I doubt it. And, from my experience, it was more harm than help, especially when my family did whatever the professionals prescribed without considering its impact on me. As a minor, I was not to be trusted; I might as well have had rabies or be told I was due to be “put down.” In short, my trust in therapy ended when the last pill I was convinced to take nearly ended my life. When professional help goes that far the wrong way, you either get mad or you die obeying strangers.

I’ve encountered many “self-help” books, too, by self-proclaimed life-experts. I would snort at these quite hastily, wondering what makes anyone an expert on life when they are still living and learning as I am. Especially, if that life expert is younger than me. After all, what is the sense of life experience if someone can live it all before another? Just because one tree figures out how to produce apples faster than another does not make it wiser or all-knowing about fruit production. [This logic might also be applied to the medicine field and how pill manufacturers fail to grasp the concept of every body being potentially different; we can’t all be lab rats just to satisfy someone’s curiosity.]

Maybe I am not being fair. Maybe there are still good therapists in this world. But, I have yet to meet one. And, after my horrible experience, I am inclined to reject the idea.

If you DO consider professional help (in other words, advice and/or assistance from someone outside the circle that knows you already), I hope you can do as much research as possible and defer the expense.

I think therapy works when we accept someone’s way of thinking into our own. I’ve read some self-help books that have fairly good ideas. I just have a hard time trusting my soul to a book instead of someone I can see with my own eyes and hold with my hands. [I suppose this could have people questioning my ability to believe in a god, my religion. After all, what is faith in a god other than trusting stories passed down about someone I cannot see or hold?] So, if you tell yourself to have faith in the words of another, it’s likely you’ll adapt and do your best to make that work.

I guess, because I’ve “been there, done that,” it’s hard for me to trust, again.

Suggestions for countering these problems:

1) Well, I already gave one about labeling conditions/difficulties.

2) As for the lack of confidence to engage others or feel better about ourselves, I wish I could find a good therapy group, if I cannot do better at making friends on my own. I’m not likely to seek such a group out, sadly. I have doubts about therapy and professionals but DO think a group is better than one-on-one.

I had brief experience with group therapy and campfire discussions. But, I could feel, rather quickly, a sense of community. When everyone in the group contributes, there is less likelihood of distrust. You slowly let your guard down and accept not being alone with the problem. I had a good time with my senior (high school) retreat when the group was able to divulge personal trials. Suddenly, those who appeared flawless were just as fragile as I, and I wanted to reach out to them, to hug them. [Sadly, the trip did not end as well as it started.]

HOWEVER, be sure you are in the right group and gauge your experience day-by-day. Because, I was placed with one group who had different problems than my own, and it made no sense for me to spill my emotions to people who could barely speak for themselves and/or comprehend my woes.

3) I have repeatedly tried something over my lifetime which doesn’t exactly accomplish much other than shaking an emotional load off my shoulders. Whenever someone made me feel “less than” or hounded me (like a bully), I would concoct a tall tale. [This probably contributed to some calling me a liar at the wrong time, like the “boy who cried wolf.”] It’s sort of like the advice some give about wild animal encounters; you make yourself look big. That’s what I did without attempting to be cooler or dress differently (as many would do). I talked big and fabricated details, hoping to steer away whatever was looming over me like a plague. It doesn’t necessarily make me feel better about myself, but it helps to steer the threats away.

Consider this a last resort strategy. Some days, I’d just want to get home and unwind. And, I’d tell myself this strategy accomplished the bottom line. It got me out of the line of fire. But, if the problem didn’t stop

4) I like how people describe Conan O’Brien as having “self-deprecating humor.” People like him are able to stay modest and have a sense of humor about themselves, so it’s less likely to get or feel hurt. In some foreign films, you might hear “fight fire with fire” or “counter poison with poison.” Even in common medicine, a vaccine is often a re-built virus used to counter another.

So, rather than simply shoot yourself down, have a sense of humor about your shortcomings. Find a way to turn a negative into a joke. So, at least, if you DO find yourself in an awkward situation, you can make light of it. And, try not to let yourself wonder if your date thinks you suffer from anything just because you make jokes or put yourself down. Don’t double the weight already on your mind.

5) Think outside the dating box. If you view a date in any particular way and figure it’s a hopeless case, try designing a different date (like drawing a new map for how to walk through a park or a new menu for your favorite restaurant). [IE Some expect sex on a third date. I don’t care for this “rule.” I must assure myself I don’t have to follow it and set my own rules. And, if my date doesn’t agree, I don’t have to continue dating that person.  Of course, I may be good at designing, but I lack the drive or self-assurance to put my designs into reality/action.  Which is why I see myself as a good interior decorator.  hehe  I design the room but don’t necessarily have to do all the remodeling.]

I’ll take a chance in saying something about my dating history.  I’ve probably gone on a handful of dates, altogether.  My first date was as much a disaster as it was a relief.  I was once accused of standing someone up and ran into an emotional dispute IN PUBLIC (which I dread) as a result of me pursuing the relationship that, apparently, wasn’t to be.

I do better befriending a person and then trying to arrange times we can hang out together casually, instead of trying to follow some schedule every few days, weeks or months.  [And, the people I usually befriend come from my workplace.  I don’t go to “normal” hangouts to meet people because I don’t have a group of friends to join me.]  I’ve “dated” people through emails and chat rooms before meeting them in person.  I can’t say I’ve had much success, but it certainly feels better getting what you can for free or little money than paying some agency of faceless strangers to hopefully find you a match.  My methods are not conventional.  But, I’m not sending disturbing nude images to people just to get a rise out of them, either (like some who deter people from trying anything online).

6) Exercise is good. I agree with those who recommend exercise for improving psychology and the mood. [Posture and what we do with our hands also play a part.]  I didn’t get it until my twenties. In school, I wasn’t exactly lazy, but I didn’t do anything to “work out” other than play video games and the occasional sport practice by my own rules. I never lifted a weight or ran a mile (which proved to be a cause of great distress and embarrassment). But, once I started walking to get groceries, etc., I found myself melting pounds and stress away. I recommend bringing a headset radio/MP3 player to give yourself something to “suck” on and tune out the traffic. But, if you like walking among nature and listening to every little sound, have at it. I tend to dwell on negative thoughts without my music.

7) Diet may be a factor.  Consider what you eat regularly but don’t guilt yourself for enjoying the occasional comfort food.  A few tips in this area:

a) Moderation is a very important word.  If you find yourself eating a whole bag of chips or candy, stop.  Nor do you need to eat a whole head of lettuce in a day to say you’ve had your veggies.  Have a little of every food group or flavor type, and your taste buds will feel fuller sooner.

b) There are self-help books that talk about how what we eat impacts both physical and mental health.  Look into Ayurvedic medicine, the use of herbs and various food groups to address internal issues like nerves.  I’ve heard pumpkin seeds and shrimp are good for countering nerves, but I’ve seen minor results, at best.

c) Know your body type.  Some people are just genetically built to change weight/shape as the seasons shift.  Some, like me, don’t gain weight much because of a hyper metabolism.  Others are designed to be stout.  Once you know your type, accept it.  [I would presume this is a step to that “self love” requirement, but it’s not often someone will address it this way.]

8) If you haven’t already, consider looking into astrology and figuring out who to avoid, who to approach and what you can do to appeal to those you do approach.  You might be surprised by what clicks with another person, finding new connections/commonalities.  I personally find the subject full of possibilities and creatively inspiring.  But, that may just be because of my “sign.” 🙂

9) When all else fails or seems too complicated, don’t forget to take deep breaths and blow the negative thoughts and clutter from your mind.  I’ve had many bouts with panic attacks.  [Another topic for another time.]  Some nights, I’d go to bed worried I’ll forget something important that just crossed my mind.  I need to have faith and tell myself what matters will be there when I wake.

10) Art is often my therapy.  I can craft in many forms.  There is no specific yoga pose or martial art I have to follow.  I just have to pray for creative inspiration and appreciate it when it comes.  There’s a whole study on the use of mandalas and adult coloring books you might investigate.  Or, try what my family call “doodle challenges” in which one person draws a line or shape, and another (or yourself if you really must do this alone) turns that shape or line into something.  It’s sort of like finding shapes in the clouds.  [This is not directly helpful to dating, but it may be good for clearing the distressful clutter from your mind/heart.]

[I’m sure I’ll think of more and reconsider some of my verbiage in good time.  🙂  Again, if interested, I’m willing to compare notes via email and, eventually, other means.]

 

I normally copy this to a special blog page I created as an archive.  But, it doesn’t seem to be working, today, in case anyone wonders why the response isn’t there (or the link here).]

03
Apr
17

White or Right, My Views on “Whitewashing”

*****
So, there’s this bad odor going around called “whitewashing.” If you are oblivious to the concept, it basically refers to…well, it has a few uses, already. One being Caucasian people being cast in roles originally set for other nationalities. And, that is what tops my peeve list at the moment. Namely, a certain typically blonde actress being cast to play a raven-haired and distinctly Asian character from a “popular” anime about a female cyborg cop.

[Note I have omitted names and titles lest giving them more specific attention only add to the theory that bad press still adds to ticket sales. For the purposes of this editorial and my own amusement, I will refer to the cast actress as “Red Role-playing Hood” and the movie as “Robocop 4: Turning Japanese.”]

Some say “Red Role-playing Hood” sells movie tickets and that this is enough justification to cast her. Others plain and simple object to her being cast in this particular role, regardless of justification.

According to an article I read, one of the artists behind the original story says the character has lost her original human name and identity, thus she could be just about anybody of any race.

If that is the case, I’d have made a different film. I’d have designed the film as a spinoff of the original story, having “Red Role-playing Hood” play a similar cyborg who looks different. Heck, the protagonist could have any body or hair color she wants if she’s not the original character. The story could have remained the same or similar with some minor changes. There’s a whole series of Resident Evil movies out there now that aren’t exactly about the original game cast, focusing on some lab creation, instead.

Another article states the actress has said she would not take a role she felt would be viewed as offensive…buuuut she IS taking the role; and some find her choice offensive, or, at least, infuriating. Myself included.

I think she, like many, will take just about any role she can get. So, if someone handed “Red Role-playing Hood” the script, I doubt she would have turned it down, considering she is open to expanding her options and likes to play odd roles that may not suit her, roles other actresses would more likely turn down to avoid being judged “weird” or being asked to play more roles like this one instead of roles in other genres they prefer. Months or years from now, one of those actresses that passed on the film will speak out at some interview for another project and admit they passed on the role while subtly praising “Red Role-playing Hood” for being an “amazing” person with whom she worked or met at an awards show.

I say the whole notion of “Red Role-playing Hood” making better ticket sales than an actual Asian, or more specifically Japanese, actress–possibly a “nobody”–is hogwash. Even if “Red Role-playing Hood” draws a certain crowd, it’s as likely the crowd comes to see HER, not the character she portrays. And, considering she looks like a clown in some green-screen body suit and wig, I feel she should NOT be playing this part.

[I am asking would-be film makers.] Would a character written as an African woman be cast/rewritten as a white woman in disguise, as well? And, if the character did not look one bit like Thandie N., would you still cast Thandie N. to play the part because she’s the only dark-skinned actress you could get to take the part? Or, would you go out of your way to find a more perfect match for the character? Is it really so important to put a movie out before all the pieces properly fit? Or, are you so lustful for profits and jumping at any dog that barks that you’ll rush to blow a budget on a lesser prize?

Why was the Thing shorter than the rest of the Fantastic Four in the first films, featuring Jessica A. as the Invisible Woman? Was Michael C. cast because of ticket sales, because he fit the role…or maybe because no one else wanted the role and/or the costume designers couldn’t make him appear bigger…even if they have the technology to fake such things?

I didn’t care for Charlize T. playing Aeon Flux, either. Some people you just get used to seeing with a certain hair color and look. And, throwing them into some character that is completely different without proper blending of appearance just makes the whole image a joke. I don’t want to see a parody of the original story. Thus, I don’t want to boost ticket sales for this film. I’ll give it a try another way, as the modern world provides. And, all ticket sale crap can just fly out the window. It’s bullshit that can be skewed, anyway. [And, I throw all the award show nonsense into the same pot. Such a waste of time and resources with little regard for the source material.] It boils down to what you choose to believe.

[On the flip side, Hugh J. was so compelling as Wolverine, I put up with him being taller than most other X-Men, even though the character was fairly short in the comics.  He also wasn’t a “clown” in a costume.  He was authentically crass, fierce and embittered.]

I believe this instance is a form of “whitewashing.” And, an Asian “nobody” would have befitted the role better, regardless of popularity or anticipated profits. I would pay to see better casting, to see an Asian beauty play this part. And, ever since I started watching films like “The Curse of the Golden Flower” and even “Rush Hour 2,” I think Hollywood can find a few. Or, maybe, such films should be made by people closer to the source material; and, if Americans are so lucky, the film will be dubbed into English, and they will learn to like it.

A “blockbuster” can never smell as sweet as it would with the right cast. Why do you think certain “franchises” got “reboots” so fast? If casting didn’t matter, why was there a reboot, anyway?

Years from now, people won’t look back and, when thinking of this blonde in a black Asian wig, say, “Gosh, she was so perfect for that role.” They WILL say, “Gosh, she sure made lots of movies.” The actress will be regarded like a Marilyn Monroe. And, only fans who concede to give up their cultural roots–including all Asian folks who try to look “American”–will not care who played what part and just be happy a film about that cartoon was made.

It doesn’t matter who is turning what characters into their own nationality. It’s Caucasian Americans and British folks, today. Tomorrow, it could be Mexicans or dark-skinned Africans altering Caucasian characters.

Some if not most movie makers are just too concerned with budget and ticket sales to consider the impact and value of proper casting (and story writing). I may be surprised to see a film pitched poorly play well. But, I will not be steered into accepting poor casting.

30
Mar
17

I Miss You, Chocolate House

*****

MissYou-ChocolateHouse-pianomansurprise_ap-1J

*****
What iIiIiIs Easter fun without you?! What iIiIiIs?! I don’t know anymoOoOre!

 

And, what…what will tomorrow bring? In a world…where you don’t exist?
What…what will I eat on holidays? Well, I know…I know what is missed.
Love bring you back where you belooong. Where my spirit flies…on whipped-cream-mountain highs. Love bring you back where you belooong. Where the chocolate flows. Where the clear favorite goes. [My mouth…is where I was going with that one.]

 

We used to have something special, you and I.
You were the sugar daddy to my childhood dreams.
You were countless flavors of whipped cream magic wrapped up in a thin layer of heavenly sweet milk or dark chocolate.
You were Easter morning surprises in a colorful basket lined with plastic grass.
You were the company that kindly answered the first formal letter I ever composed with an awesome care package.
You were the legalized pot of gold shop my family visited annually to keep everyone happy at an otherwise gloomy time of year.
You were the McDonald’s of desserts without a line of mascots; fast food that brought great pleasure and always put a smile on my face. [Well, maybe not those maple cream eggs…or the fruit and nut ones. Those were kinda gross.]
You were bigger than minty “shamrock” milkshakes.
You were bigger than Cadbury…to me.

And now, you’re gone?

I mean, you’ve been gone a few years now. But, I still get withdrawal pains. And, every time I see a picture of you or hear your name…? Every time I see one of your lesser competitors? I ache. I weep just a little. I have to stop myself before I break down and cry. Because you were just that big to me.

So, I’m sending out this love letter, hoping it serves me…us well. Please, come back to my area. Or, if you could…if you would…please send me another glorious care package with the glossy cards featuring all the products you produce and the cases of whipped cream eggs I like, particularly the mint, chocolate and vanilla ones.

Thank you.

If I never see you, again, I’ll at least have the memory…albeit a painful one when I have to think about how it all went away.

Come back.

[Fingers touching the screen.]

*Sigh*




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