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Month: July 2008

Chin up

Chin up

It has come to my attention that some comments made on my July 14th entry may have been misinterpreted. “Chins” was referring to the Ch’in Dynasty (or “Qin” in pinyin), not the racial slur “chink.” Death by a thousand cuts, otherwise known as “slow-slicing” was a torture method invented in China and used during the “Imperial Period.” The Qin Dynasty is generally recognized as the first dynasty of this Imperial Period.

Is anybody out there?

Is anybody out there?

An interesting thing happened yesterday.

About once or twice a day I’ll get a notice that someone has registered on my blog. Now, the vast vast majority of the time these are spam-bots that have figured out how to register (they are getting smarter all the time). I then have to go in and delete them before they can post about gambling or Cialis or what have you.

Yesterday I got another notice – and a bit later I got an actual comment from that registrant. I didn’t recognize the name and so I emailed the commenter to find out more. turns out I don’t know her at all – but she stumbled upon my blog and has been reading it. I also had a comment from a coworker (who doesn’t have a computer at home) that he read about something I’d done recently on my blog. This got me thinking – who is reading this? I’ve ruminated in the past on here about whether having a blog is necessary, narcissistic, detrimental and so on. However, everything changes if people I don’t even know are actually interested enough to read it. So, this one time, I’m going to ask anyone who reads this to register and leave a message (on this posting). And that means anybody and everybody, whether you know me, hate me, love me or don’t even know me at all. I’m just curious as I so often write on here thinking my only audience is my father (and maybe Byron and aunt Lois). Then I see that 25 “people” have viewed the comments, or 35 or 65… and I wonder “are these mostly internet spiders just cataloging the content, or are they actual people (that I know or not)?” My server stats tell me people from England, China, Germany and other countries have visited the page – I always wonder if they really are people.

So, if you’re reading this right now, please step up and register (if you haven’t before) and leave a comment saying so. Thank you.

dendrites that wasted their lives

dendrites that wasted their lives

lime gatoraide
H&M
tea
travelling
the beach
Northern California
Shanghai
karaoke
watermelon
counting crows
crowds in public
cooking
Honda S2000
bollywood movies
persian/indian music
the smell of sun-dried sheets
pinkberry
ramenya (even though it is now closed by the LA health department due to “vermin”)
udon
gelato
strawberry milk
pickles
purple bell flowers
rosemary
lavender
vanilla
strawberry
gardenia
Moose
Journey
bohemian rhapsody
Flavored soap (apple)
nice watches
Pepsi (over coke)
Lily flowers
tulips
never Chrysanthemum
The glass thermometers with oil inside and little glass bulbs
crepes
sushi
dinner parties
sex and the city
scrubs
never scary movies
The Legend of 1900
fish tacos
jamba juice
“widescreen” format photography
salsa (dancing)
tennis

and so much more…

earthquake!

earthquake!

We just had a fairly major (i.e. I felt it this time) earthquake! This is the first one in over a year – but this was way more exciting. Early reports are saying this was a 5.8. I hope nothing fell over at my house! the earth is still shaking slowly and gently now as I write this…sort of a weird feeling.

check

check

I’ve begun to learn how to play chess. On two consecutive days Justin and I played a series of three games. I’ve had two checkmates but we are locked in a 3-3 tie for wins.

There are a few things I just never learned or did because I didn’t see them as that important. One was learning chess – now I can check that off (pun intended). Another was owning my own suit – check. Yet another is learning how to play poker…. since I don’t gamble I haven’t tackled that one yet. Someone even bought me a deck of cards for encouragement in NYC in January, but the fascination never caught on. I was discussing this with Yaw yesterday and discovered to my delight that he had never learned how to play cards for the same reason – gambling is a fairly pointless activity.

Somehow this lead to discussion of another sort. In the past few weeks a thought has fomented in the minds of all the men I know, young and old. Perhaps it is due to a rash of break-ups (my designer at work was dumped at the same time as Justin and I as well) or maybe it is just the aftereffects of Sex and the City being unleashed upon men with spouses/girlfriends everywhere a few months ago. Whatever the cause, all the men I speak with frequently have been discussing how American society is denigrating men as a whole.

I suddenly realised the other day that the ratio of myself getting dumped to being the dumper was about 5:2. When I reviewed my friends relationships I discovered a similar ratio. I did further research and found that the MAJORITY of divorces in America are initiated by the wife. This wasn’t a hunch anymore, this was documented legal fact – as every year ticks by women are less and less likely to stay in a relationship.

Now the question becomes – why is this happening? It is certainly a complex issue, but there a few easy answers that as a man I’ve been frustrated with for a number of years. Since the fairytale was invented, women have always lusted for their “prince.” However, in the past a “prince” was very loosely defined. Basically someone who would love and take care of them were the basic requirements for princelyhood. Today, the ante has been upped quite significantly. The idea that there is always someone richer, more sophisticated, more educated, a better lover, etc. is one that is primary motivation for women. Of course, there always IS someone richer, more handsome, etc., but what few (especially young) women realize is that these men are very rare. An “average” woman dumping a man to find another with financial largess is tantamount to an “average” man dumping the same woman to find one with the body of a supermodel. Now why is it that the latter sounds patently absurd (especially in a world where Mo’Nique is trying to convince us it is “okay” -and even sexy- for a woman to be morbidly obese), while the former most men can actually attest to actually having happened to them?

Where is this “grass is greener” thought coming from?

The answer is very complex, and I certainly don’t purport to know the whole answer. I can only answer based on what I’ve personally witnessed and researched. Fact: Television is becoming a female medium. Other than specific male-centric programming (which basically means live sports broadcasts), the majority of television programming is feminized. Nielsen Media Research has reported that television viewership among 18 to 34 year old males has declined almost 8% per year and has been doing so steadily for more than a decade. Why aren’t we men watching television any longer? Because every drama show features a man being violent or raping a woman (men are evil). Every comedy family sitcom features a man (usually overweight and bald) acting stupid and being made fun of for it by his wife and children (this is also a heavy theme in the advertising between the shows). Every “young adult” sitcom features praise for homosexual males, empowered women and denouncement of the traditional urges of heterosexual males. Where does this leave men? After having these images beat into our skulls it leaves us feeling guilty for the very thoughts that make us heterosexual men. More importantly (and I’m sure they’d agree), where does this leave women?

This empowers women. Little girls wear shirts that say “boys are stupid, throw rocks at them” while at the same time women are told to feel marginalized (i.e. the “glass ceiling” that is still thought to exist despite figures stating that there are more women graduating from college now than men in America) and should be “fighting back” against the oppressive male society. Having this chip on the shoulder simply empowers and motivates women more in a society where the brass ring is already being handed to them on a silver platter. To any woman scoffing at this I urge you to do a simple experiment: Open up google and search for “financial aid for single mothers”… see all those results offering aid? Now replace “mothers” with “fathers”…. (let us not forget that more than half of those fathers are single because their wife left them) Also consider simple things like the fact that car insurance is cheaper (on average) for women. More operations, procedures and care are covered under women’s health insurance policies than men. Breast cancer, a form of cancer that (usually) affects only one half of the population is by far the most researched form of cancer (and possibly any physical ailment). Breast cancer has it’s own logo and color scheme now – it is so popular to “help” that it has become it’s own brand. (note that I don’t wish ANY form of cancer upon ANYONE, I’m not against breast cancer research, I’m just pointing out the enormous amount of attention it gets vs. cancer that affects men – or even cancer that effects both sexes) The advantages go on and on with the largest simply being the difference in life-expectancy between men and women. Since women are primarily ego-based thinkers and men are primarily logic based this situation of generalized societal inequality becomes very dangerous (for men). At work, women are being bred to contempt the (male) supervisors they are already en masse replacing. The male supervisor is scared to death to give his female underling a bad review for fear he’ll be somehow accused of being sexist or worse. A woman I know “coincidentally” got the opportunity to work abroad for three weeks immediately after complaining about a male supervisor’s “negative” review.

In relationships men are always portrayed as “wandering eyed dogs who are afraid to commit.” Men aren’t afraid of commitment, they are afraid that women have no sense of commitment. In the new female-centric view in American family and divorce court, men have much to lose from a relationship dissolution and women have much to gain. And in the end women are the ones afraid of commitment – after all – why would they be the ones filing for divorce (in search of “greener” pastures) if this wasn’t true? I’m sure some women would respond to this question with the answer “the husband probably beat/ignored/disrespected/etc. her” Really? Over 50% of marriages end in divorce, so are you proposing that over 50% of married men are bad husbands? It is all the man’s fault? Really?Beating a woman or being verbally abusive or any of those things hasn’t been in vogue for centuries, so where would these millions of men be getting the idea that they should be doing it? They aren’t. Women are ruining their own relationships because of their unrealistic sense of entitlement.

The most obvious example of this entitlement is a woman in Florida who was awarded $150,000 last week from a fiance who asked to postpone the wedding when he learned she was in debt for $42,000. This after he’d already given her $30,000 to pay off her credit card debt in the past. Let us not forget also that she broke up with him in 2005. Did he sue her for the $30,000 he gave her to pay off her credit cards? No. This will lead to men not only being afraid of marriage, but just simply getting into a serious relationship at all with a woman. I had a quirky idea the other day (no not quirkyalone!) that this whole dynamic would change if, in a divorce or breakup, each party had to pay the other back for every cent specifically spent on their partner. Suddenly the focus might actually be on committment.

The result of the decision in Florida and millions more in divorce/family court over the years have shifted financial power in America to women. Alimony was a system invented in England to provide uneducated and unskilled women with money to live on after being divorced (believe me, it wasn’t the women filing back then). Explain to me why men still must pay alimony as standard practice in a divorce when we are already living in a society that has more (newly) educated women than men. Women even expect and are rewarded alimony when they have been unfaithful in a marriage. How can we have a healthy society with laws like this?

I don’t want to bash women. After all, I do have a mother, aunts, cousins and even female friends that do not fit this description of the “modern woman.” However, the attitudes I’ve described are so prevalent in our society that they impact myself and my friends on a daily basis. In short, the modern woman is making the modern man’s life a living hell. Even more so because men have a lower capacity for being “alone” than women. I’ve known women that have gone without a relationship of any kind (romantic or physical) for years and have not really cared. Men can’t do this voluntarily. Our hormones force us to at least go search out a physical partner if not romantic. We are trapped by our own biological makeup, and the system just keeps getting weighted heavier and heavier towards the “fairer” sex.

Let us not even begin to discuss the “wage gap” between men and women. This is such a laughable argument that a simple one sentence response is all you need to refute it. If women made less than men (for the same job), only women would be hired and be in the workforce because the companies would save money. I’m a man and I have job (and I know several other men with jobs) – so this can’t be true. In fact, when I was in the position of hiring someone at my company – women as a whole expected a higher paycheck for the same job than the men I interviewed.

I’ll also hold off from beginning to discuss the power women hold over men based on the use (or not) of birth control.

So, back to the beginning. Modern relationships with women are like a game of chess, but one in which the males must start off without any pawns to defend with. The system is set to implode. As more women are educated than men, they will begin to be the sources of power. The wealth is already being redistributed to women. So, at some point we’ll have well educated wealthy women leaving their men for someone with more money and suddenly realize that they’ve already taken all the resources they used to fantasize about getting from us.

Then they’ll go out together dressed in tube tops and drink mojitos and shake their asses to bad music and forget all about “stupid men.” Problem solved.

ah- but there is one more little hitch in this mass media women dominated master plan. If every little girl grows up wanting to sing like Miley or “go into fashion” – who will design all the fancy gadgets you “have” to have? Miley Cyrus isn’t going to be designing any new iphones any time soon or finding the cure for breast cancer. I suppose all the women that go into the psychology field will be taken care of though – as the effects of all this male-bashing in our culture certainly is leading higher and higher amounts of men to the therapist’s office (not to mention divorce mediation and family counseling).

Which reminds me – I could write another whole long blog about how the communication age has destroyed relationships. But that is for another (Sun)day another (lonely) time. I write all of this out of pain from my past experiences and fear for the ones to come. The idea of dating again is not something I look forward to but has been spinning in my head much. My friends are split in their advice on this topic, some give the old adage “the best way to get over someone is to get under someone else” while others give the familiar “don’t date anyone, spend this time on getting to know yourself.” Well, I know myself, and I know what I want in someone else. Unfortunately I know that both are rare in modern society. I’ve got my work cut out for me no matter which path I choose (my sound card stopped working today so I can’t even make music if I chose to “focus on myself”).

I hope someone can prove me wrong about all of this….

Things do come in threes

Things do come in threes

Yesterday I went to the doctor for my “final” appointment. I had taken (yet another) blood test on Tuesday to check my thyroid hormone levels. After waiting for an hour the doctor finally came in and asked me why I was there. After explaining my case again… and explaining that HE had wanted me to take the test again we determined that the lab had never sent the results. So – more waiting while the office called the lab and had the results faxed. My TSH level was 10 point something – well into the normal range (in fact higher than I’ve tested in my adult life I think). This lead the doctor to proclaim “well, you’re perfectly normal. I’d say you can test it again in six months if you want, but otherwise, you’re perfectly healthy.” So after all the drama of the last six months I’m back to normal body-wise.

Normally on Thursday nights I’d either be bouldering, playing racquetball or playing music. This Thursday though I went with Victor and some friends to Harvelle’s in Santa Monica to see Maetar. They turned out to be more of a “stoner” band than I thought (complete with a greatful dead t-shirt), but they had some really talented musicians. There was a song that utilized an electric violinist who quickly became apparent talented enough to hold her own on any stage anywhere in the world. One of the two frontmen of the band couldn’t decide from time to time whether to use a conch, trumpet, oboe or even a shofar. The show went until 1am, but being working stiffs Victor and I headed back up to the valley around 11.

Last night was also significant in that it was the first time I’d seen my friend Cindy in 2008, which was my fault and she wouldn’t let me forget it. Turns out that Cindy loves to climb as well and even has equipment – so I may hike that massive wall in Malibu before too long. Oh – and it is her birthday today – so Happy Birthday, Cindy.

Earlier this week I decided to catch up with another old friend that I’d also neglected in my “blue” period. I bought a round-trip ticket to San Antonio for the first weekend of September. Just happens to be my best buddy’s 27th birthday and I haven’t even seen him in two years.

something in the air

something in the air

Was there a national angry young women’s conference somewhere a few weeks/months ago? Everyone is getting dumped! Justin is all broken up about his recent girlfriend and their falling out. Ironically this happened a few weeks ago and Beverly was giving him “relationship advise” at the time. I feel pretty bad for him as I know the pain myself all too well. The same things he is saying like “I’m (insert age here) and I’m tired of having this keep happening” have come out of my mouth and into others’ ears lately as well. My designer at work got dumped last week by his girlfriend of two years. Who is next? Maybe it will stop at that – bad things always come in threes, right?

These guys are so much younger than me though, when does this nonsense end? Do young men have to go through a decade or so of breakups in todays world to find someone? Or do young women just want to play around until they are 30 – and all of us (nice) guys just have to put up with it until that magic age hits and their biological clocks start giving them a headache?

A truly bizarre situation occurred last night when Justin and I tried to see Batman (I’ll explain why I said “tried” in a moment). We bought tickets and got in line a full half hour before showtime (keep in mind this is a Monday night). Immediately two teenage girls turned around and started (what in high school passes for) flirting with us. I tore them down. “Do you like my shoes?” “No, they are ugly” “do you like my skirt” “Ugly” “You’re mean!” “I’m honest.” I guess the “me me me” mentality in a lot of women starts early. I got a weird kick out of shutting down these insufferable spoiled little brats. It just made Justin feel worse somehow, probably because his ex was a little (actually a lot) closer in age to these girls than mine.

Anyway, the rent-a-cops decided to move the line outside since it was blocking an exit, as we walked outside Justin spotted a friend from school closer to the beginning of the line and we cut in with them. We were glad to both get away from those teenagers and also hopefully get better seats once inside. Our hopes were dashed however, when we got inside and saw there were no seats left but the seats next to the walls. Defeated we hung our heads, walked downstairs, got our refunds and headed home.

Rocking Out

Rocking Out

Sunday morning Justin and I set out for Malibu Creek State Park.

When we arrived around 10am the fog was still heavy on the mountains. As we walked into the park we went through hills of yellow (burnt) weeds. In front of us we could see the tree covered mountains with random outcroppings of scraggly multi-colored rocks. We both wondered how to get over there. Eventually we’d have to agree to figure that out later. At the bottom of the hill we took a right turn and walked along the dry creek. After a few minutes we decided to descend into the creek. The creek still had a few shallow pools filled with frantic fish looking for a meal and tons of wasps waiting for them to die.

The creek was completely covered in dead dried algae. It looked a bit like the landscape of an alien planet.

I’ve never seen an elephant graveyard, but now I can say I’ve seen a crayfish one, as there were crayfish skeletons strewn everywhere. The few with any rotting meat left inside had swarms of yellow jackets in a feeding frenzy.

At the end of the creek we came upon a giant rock formation with a vertical face that is the most perfect natural rock climbing opportunity I’ve ever seen.

After we walked past the rock-climbing we came upon a rock pool – with even more adventurous climbers climbing the perilous cliffs above (with rope lines of course). We did our climbing to try to get around the pool – but eventually it became obvious it was too dangerous to be passable without proper climbing equipment and we had to turn back.

It was just as well though as Justin had to work in the afternoon anyway. We vowed to come back when we could have the whole day to explore. The maps in the visitor center showed that we’d only walked about a mile (one way), but the longest jaunt through the park was about 3.5 miles (one way).

I also hope to find a friend who knows how to tie climbing ropes so I can give that rock wall a try.

At first I didn’t like this climbing stuff, but I’m starting to really get into it. On Thursday night I brought a new friend to go climbing with me at Stoney Point. Suddenly I was the climbing instructor and I took on a new crevasse more dangerous and higher than anything I’d attempted before. Obviously I didn’t fall off the hill – but there were many points on the (I’m estimating) 35 foot vertical climb where I thought I might not make it. There turned out to be no foot or handholds left after I’d gotten too far up to turn back. As such my knees and elbows are now blackened with scraped skin I used to pin myself to the rock and slowly inch my way to the top. After I reached the top, much worse for the wear, I couldn’t believe what I’d actually done. Kent had gone up and around on the regular hiking trail to meet me at the top. Good thing he hadn’t been that close or he would have heard me saying “shit…shit…shit!” as I tried to figure out how to not fall to my death.