I'm a little late writing a year-end Rant because I've been busy being unemployed. That's hard work, since I'm not drawing any sort of renumeration for the work I have done previously. Other than that one point, I don't have a heck of a lot to complain about personally. But I can always come up with broader subjects to speak of, since there's so much that's wrong in the world. So looking back on the year 2004, here are some things that stand out as wrong which we should try to avoid repeating in 2005:
• It's long been said that you need a license to hunt, marry, or drive, but anyone can procreate freely. That must stop. I don't mean for Zero Population Growth reasons (though there's nothing wrong with ZPG), but because there are far too many lousy parents and significant others of parents out there. I am really sick of hearing about young children dying of starvation because Mom was on a week-long bender, of abuse by the mother's boyfriend for doing what babies do (cry, poop, etc.), or other reasons far too gruesome to mention. There are plenty of ways to keep from having kids if you're not going to behave as a responsible parent, and plenty of people who are dying to adopt children who are not going to be treated properly if you forgot to take precautions. Stop making babies and headlines, assholes.
• There was a headline in a British newspaper last month announcing there are 5 million idiots in the USA. I disagree; that number was the difference between the amount of votes the two primary candidates in the presidential race, thus there are actually about a hundred million idiots living here. Remember how when there was an Iron Curtain, living in a "red state" was considered a bad thing? It still is. Remember the old saying, "better Red than dead"? No, it isn't, and wasn't back when this referred to Communism either. It's said that 75% of the people who voted for the village dolt did so on 'moral grounds'. Oddly, so did everyone who voted against him, but with a little less irony involved. A guy who shirked his military duty is sending our soldiers to fight and die over a lie – including a few whose contracts ended (sometimes years earlier but got the call anyway) but they're still stuck there? A guy who, honestywise, makes Nixon look like a bishop comparatively? A guy whose platform was quite literally "holier than thou" despite the fact that Kerry is no less a church-goer? Duuudes. This isn't a situation we can fix in 2005 since it should have been fixed last month, but there are still things that can be done to derail the tram sending America to hell in a handbasket with Bush Jr. at the helm. This is still a democracy where the people have the power... in theory, for now.
• The other day I saw an advertisement for a certain brand of artificial hip joint. Okay, the purely cosmetic medications like Cialis/Viagra and Botox, I can handle. The medications with a healthful function like Wellbutrin and so forth which can only be prescribed by a doctor after an evaluation, that doesn't make sense because if the doctor thought you would benefit from (or be able to tolerate) these meds you would s/he'd tell you – not the other way around. It's illegal to market prescription drugs to consumers in other countries, some of which have much lower prices for prescription drugs because of the minimal budget for promotion (and a real health care system that leaves no child or adult behind). But an artificial hip joint?! Tell the osteopaths, and spend that advertising budget on research and development. That goes triple for the pharmacutical companies, since stories keep coming out about drugs that the FDA knew are harmful but yet they still get advertised and prescribed (and Vioxx was only the tip of that iceberg).
• There was an article in the January 2005 Funny Times, which I received yesterday, talking about how the foreign call centers which have been given the jobs formerly done by Americans (such as mine) need 'localizers', people who can teach the workers overseas how to sound like native English speakers with Americans accents on the phone. There's an irony for you, the people now unemployed can now tell the people who got their jobs how to sound just like them. Wouldn't it be a kick in the head if consumers simply boycotted businesses that offshore their people positions, demanding that they bring the labor home? It would work if people gave a damn. But as George Carlin said, "they found a cure for apathy, but no one has shown the slightest bit of interest."
That's just a random smattering, written before I head back to the mall to finish my shopping. On behalf of R.A.T. – the soldier in Iraq whose obligation ended eight months ago, the geek who can't find a tech job in Seattle, and the pharmacy goddess who is still trying to make ends meet – have a good holiday season (whatever your holiday may be) and a beneficial new year. --#2
Since I love going into political diatribes, I figured I should wait until after the November 2 presidential election before writing anything. I honestly believed that people would be sick of their UNelected leader screwing over their rights, sending their jobs overseas, sending their children overseas, sending taxpayer dollars down a rathole or to Halliburton, and the smarminess of someone who refuses to admit he's ever made a wrong decision. You'd have to have the memory of a gnat to totally ignore the headlines and vote for this guy, or be such a partisan clone to justify anything this person has done in office. George Washington never told a lie, George W. Bush has never told the truth; what's there to dissect? As one comedian put it, "I may not have liked Bush Senior, but in comparison to his son he's Winston Churchill." (And I did like Bush Senior, but we the voters had the sense to say "once is enough" – which is unheard of when it comes to Republican incumbant presidents who have waged wars " it was time for a change, and it turned out to be a rather positive one for reversing the deficit.) Surely this would be the end of an error.
What the hell were half of the American people thinking?!?
So by now you have awaken to the stark knowledge that the wrong man at the wrong time somehow got nominated back into office (this time by mostly legal means), proving that a little more than half of Americans and the rediculousness known as the electoral college have lost their fucking minds. It's impossible to rebuild when you're still destroying. Jobs will continue to go to other countries. Soldiers will continue being retained beyond their contracts and die in suicide bombings while occupying a place we shouldn't be. Osama bin Laden will continue respiring until he finally dies of kidney failure, since his predicted reappearance in the media didn't seem to remind people that Bush's professional-wrestling-variety posturing about wanting to kill him off for the last three years hasn't produced results. Civil rights will continue to be eroded. America will continue to alienate its allies and foment discord among those who didn't like us in the first place. The national debt, which didn't exist before he stole office four years ago, will be so outrageously high that our grandkids won't be able to curb it (it's already so bad that our kids won't be able to fix it) and the middle-class will continue to pay more in taxes than the rich.
Nothing said in October (waited until after the elections)
More people than ever before have voted in this election, with most of the calls to get registered coming from Democratic groups. Bravo for doing your civic duty, everyone! Yet... this happened? I hope you stupid people who voted Republican get to feel the pain you have inflicted upon the country, since you seem impervious to what has already happened... and is still happening. Yes, fuckers, I'm calling you stupid. You had the chance to fix the problems that you're trying to deny or ignore. I'm by no means claiming Kerry was the do-all be-all end-all, he honestly wasn't. I am however claiming that the clown in office has done more to create a Socialist state and destroy what made America great, and it was the perfect opportunity to right a wrong by stopping the madness. You didn't. I hope you're proud of yourselves, and that you won't be able to live with that guilt or benefit from your vote's reprecussions for the next four years. --#2
Nothing said in August (saved for September)
If you read the 8/29/04 Daybook entry, this may seem like a rerun, but this has a little more detail. A friend gave me the number of the employment placement agency she was using at the time, about a year after I really needed it, and they hooked me up for a permanent gig with one bank (which I lost) and temporary gig with another bank. My goal for taking the temp job was to stay there long enough to qualify to collect unemployment benefits. See, when I got booted out of the Internet provider, they screwed me over for benefits before they screwed everyone else over (but they all got their bennies), leading to the filing of bankruptcy last October. I made some logic mistakes earlier in the year which caused me not to be able to draw benefits from the next two jobs I had, so I was determined to do things right in my next employment. And I have to say I passed the test with flying colors; I worked for 9 weeks until the job was done, and I filed for unemployment the next week. Of course working is preferable, but barring that...
A week later I got a call from the agency, offering me a temporary thing for a company that telemarkets time-shares and such flimflam... no interview necessary, just come and get it. In this state the Unemployment folks have a 'waiting week' for them to check things out, then after that you can start drawing. I went to job and was shown around, and in thirty minutes I realized that not only was this job completely out of my comprehension, it was also quite unethical (which I already knew, it telemarkets, but the job in question involved coming up with reasons why the telemarketers shouldn't be paid, and as someone who has made cold-calls for police fundraisers and homeless shelters without ever clinching even one promise of payment I can't think of a worse job in the world which doesn't involve cleaning up decaying biological effluvia). I said my goodbyes, called the agency to let them know it was a no-go and why, then went home. I've come to learn the agency had me over a barrel: if I turn down their offer, whether it's something I'm capable of or not, they can deny my benefits because there's a stipulation in Unemployment's rules saying they can do that if you refuse employment; if I accept the offer and then discover it's not something in my capacity, they can deny my benefits because I wasn't at the new job long enough to qualify for benefits, or consider that refusing employment or leaving a job improperly. And so for the last three weeks, I've received letters from the Unemployment folks a couple days after my weekly filing saying I've been denied for the week but offering no explanation for why (each letter says there's another letter which explains it but there hasn't been one, and calling their center as the bottom of the letter says to do if one didn't get the letter produces a phone system which repeats the same thing, "your claim for the week has been denied, see the letter that was sent or will be sent to your home") so I'm free to assume that the agency stabbed me in the back. I was already aware that the state will use any valid or semi-valid excuse to not pay out, and they tossed 'em one without Unemployment ever asking my side of the story. (I think of my friend Jimbo who accepted a job with a plastics extrusion place; he was home by lunch because his face and arms and respiratory system had severe reactions to the chemicals. My case isn't quite the same as his, since he could prove that job was physically bad for him and he would have won a lawsuit against Unemployement, but the core story is still the same: a job was dropped because the person couldn't handle it. He didn't have a previous record to fall back on so there were no benefits to apply for or be denied.)
I did get some valuable experience out of the last bank job and even proved to myself that I am capable of holding a good job in a challenging atmosphere surrounded by other people, a feeling that had been undermined a few times in the last year and a half. I am happy and thankful for the positives, but the fact still remains that I spent two and a half months building my credit back up just so the folks who made that possible could in a matter of minutes destroy it. Sensing that's how things would go, the friend who gave me the first referral gave me the number of the agency she's working through now (the first agency never realized she'd defected; the last job they gave her canned her for needing to take care of her sick child one day) and they called me the next week with an offer. --#2
The other day I had this thought: When you walk into a little shop that is themed around a certain culture, there is often an area with music for sale. Stefan's Old World Gifts back in Yakima, may it rest in peace, offered singing little blonde girls and oom-pah-pah and Nana Mouskouri. Your average African shop, with real Africans from Africa, offers various African musicians (be they National Geographic-esque tribal drummers or bigger label names like Ladysmith Black Mambazo or Mahlathini & the Mahotella Queens). Your average Irish/Scottish/Welsh/Manx shop (like Harp & Shamrock, in the Proctor district of Tacoma) has a section containing James Galway and Enya among other Celtic musicians. You'd expect to find a whole smørgasbörd of Swedish music at IKEA since they have plenty of svensk food but I haven't looked. And while I don't know of any Canadian themed stores (except a few online, blessed be the suppliers of Cadbury 'Wunderbars'!) I figure if you looked in the music bin you'd find Anne Murray's Greatest Hits, Gordon Lightfoot's Gord's Gold, and probably a Kate & Anna McGarrigle compilation for good measure.
What would American themed music be? I've been through enough used record bins at thrift stores to see what used to be the earmarks of this culture – Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, 101 Strings, Ferrante & Teicher. But they're all no longer performing, mostly due to the inevitability of death and/or the shifting of popular music. It's easy enough to name American artists who are popular today and possibly will be popular tomorrow (although most won't, so much of today's music is absolute sh!te), but I can't figure what artists of late translate well into a record – okay, make that compact disk – with a cover asking the listener to pretend they're taking a trip to the United States, just like the records of yesteryear did in regard to European and Asian countries. Tom Jones is about as far as I can figure (yeah, I know, he's actually Welsh but it doesn't get much more American), a compilation containing hits from Michael Jackson's first four albums and no further (though I can't say I'm in favor of this because of whatever the artist himself has become), and a Carole King/Carly Simon double-bill (because as talented as they are, neither have knocked off anyone's socks in years). Okay, and to be fully American the bin would have a couple country music compilation by various artists. But beyond those thoughts, I'm stymied. Suggestions?
So the rant is, I'm at a loss for a definition of music which I'd want someone in another country to buy when at the American shop in whatever large city they happen to visit, or pick up if they were visiting here. --#2
A neighbor called me the other day, to say her old printer had given up the ghost and she had purchased a new one. Wonder Geek powers, activate! So I went to her house yesterday to set everything up, expecting this to be a five minute procedure. Of course I know better, but I had a shitload of other plans for the day, like buying SoundTransit tickets for the Seattle Express [how long has that girl at the counter been doing this? this is the second time she gave me LOCAL transfer tickets instead of Seattle tickets which are twice the value, and the drivers are starting to notice! But that's a different Rant...] and exchanging some bad RAM at Fry's, so it's wishful thinking. I was introduced to her new printer, which is a scanner and copy machine and so much more. And her first question was, "how does this plug go in?" Good question, since it was the printer cable from her previous Hewitt-Packard printer, which you would think would plug into this new Hewitt-Packard printer but does not because the jack on the old one was tweaky-proprietary and the jack on the new one is standard. Grrr. I ran home, fluffed and folded that spaghetti mass of wires in my Apple parts box and found the right cable (which is odd because I've never owned a parallel printer in my previous life), and dashed it back to her place.
I get everything hooked up, fire everything up, and begin the driver installation. This seems relatively painless and the printer does spit out a test page. So I reboot after all is done and, uh, suddenly this Windows Misery Edition beast has totally forgotten that there's a printer attached. Uninstall, reinstall, push that, yank this, no change. I learned something from having a horrible time with my Canon flatbed scanner awhile back (beside that USB is not truly Plug-n-Pray), being that when all else fails you should delete everything imaginable so the computer has amnesia regarding the device. So after much fux0ring around with the machine, I deleted anything with "HP" or "Hewitt-Packard" in the name – files, folders, drivers, INFs and every last mention in the Registry (there were at least 20). And I unplugged the cable from the sucker to be sure. We're now at the two hour mark on a five-minute project.
Turn stuff on, plug stuff in, install drivers, let the Hardware Wizard 'discover' what it should have known all along because it was flipping told such and used such for one shining moment, and this time the installation 'took' and we printed a photo. Huzzah, yaay, good bye I gots stuff to do. A sandwich and an old string of Christmas lights were my rewards. Several hours later I got home hours later and there was a message on my answering machine, saying that after being given a flock of horse-hockey by the store regarding why it now wouldn't print text clearly (despite printing that photo and the test document earlier), she decided to return it. For one valid reason: the salesdrone told her it was a color printer, and it so is not. So this whole experiment was all for naught (but for lunch and Santa-head lights made in 1951, no complaints here), and the rants are twofold: first, the standard bitch about computers being diabolical; second, one stupid salesperson causing everyone a bunch of grief. I got all my tasks done, amazingly, and I even fixed another neighbor's notebook computer while waiting for her Windows to reboot for the umpteenth time. --#2
I was released from a bank job nearly a month ago (I knowingly broke a privacy rule) and so I'm back in the job hunting pool, and once again am unable to collect unemployment monies (this state pays by what your last job says, not by how much you have paid into the system or what previous recent employers say – which must serve to discourage some people from taking temporary jobs because their benefits can get cut off permanently, Funny How That Works Out). Today's Rant isn't associated with why I lost that job, but rather why I was going to lose that job later this month anyway... and it's not speculation, I was buttonholed on this a couple times with signed acknowledgements of the conversations, so I have documentation proving this was the direction things were going. Today's Rant isn't limited to just what I saw at the bank, since it goes on elsewhere, but I've never seen it quite so blatent in other jobs before, and it reminds me a bit of the scene from Office Space where Jennifer Aniston gets harassed by her boss about having the minimum number of 'pieces of flair' on her outfit.
I worked in a call center on the second floor of a glass building, fairly similar to the building and job I had for three years in ISP tech support: people call in, I look up their information and give them answers, fix whatever issue brought them to me, and fluff up their pillows before giving them the happy heave-ho. And I'm pretty good at this, not only because I speak fluent English as my first language but because people like how helpful I am. In any call center environment, one set of bean-counters keep track of how many calls a person takes and how long they are, and another set of bean-counters determines how happy the people that person has spoken to are with the interactions and how good the information the person provided is. [If you, the reader, already knew these facts, then bless you; the rest of you need to know that's why phone agents often seem to be in a hurry to get you off the line: it's because they are!... they are being watched like hawks and given a lecture or a 'performance plan' to follow if they don't balance quality service with low call lengths & high call volume, and may get a hustle out the door if they can't make that balance.] Business is also fond of its theories and axioms, both in how to manage employees (many methodologies exist) and how employees should function (as you can derive from the previous couple sentences). There's the background, now for the story:
Anyone who has worked in a job which requires phone use, whether the calls be incoming or outgoing, is familiar with the concept that one should smile while speaking on the phone, because the sound of your smile somehow comes through in your voice. No matter how cheesy the concept may sound, it's actually true and you're welcome to try it and see; I'm rather adept at putting a smile into my voice, and it's been a long time since any manager had an issue with my tone on the phone even if they weren't as pleased with what was said. There is another belief that says one's wardrobe also affects one's professionalism on the phone, but I don't know about that one. My former manager – who wasn't actually my manager yet, since I was still under the training department's supervision – was one of those people who believed that just smiling while on the phone and looking snappy wasn't enough. He didn't think a person should use the Mute button, get complaints out of one's system between calls, or do anything but happily swallow all the bullshit and stupidity then move onto the next call seamlessly. He also was into the interpretation of body language, since body language hardly ever lies, no matter how little it played into the telephone conversation – surely no one on the phone is going to hear you roll your eyes when they're being redundant or obnoxious, get up and move around as they yammer on about irrelevant matters, or lean back in your chair and look at the ceiling as you answer the same question for them you've answered a dozen times today. He didn't see things that way; he thought people should lie in their body language in the same way they should lie in their phone voice about being happy, and this little grey mushroom doesn't believe in telling more than one lie at a time. I have no idea how to fake body language, but then again logically why would I need to... I'm in a cubicle on the second floor of a building on the other side of the country from the caller, who is going to see what my face looks like or how I'm sitting? I'm smiling on the call and I'm dressed nicely, I've fulfilled the stated goals...
He sees me. And he doesn't like my slouch, my pacing, and all these other elements which have nothing to do with the call. He could write an evaluation of a call without putting on his headset to listen to the content, and on a couple occasions he called me into an empty room to do just that! It's hard to hide your body language at a moment like that, since it is destined to be a nonverbal form of "what the f*ck are you talking about?!" I recall once after he'd presented his review, I asked pointedly: "did I give the right answer? was the customer happy with the interaction? did the customer have to call back on the same issue? was I polite, courteous, confident, and professional in how I presented myself on the phone?" And his response was that while indeed I gave the correct response, the customer was pleased and satisfied, and I sounded good, I was slouching during the call and had said "whatever" after the customer hung up. So?? If the customer was happy, why would there be an issue? After a couple of these pep[less] talks, none of which contained positive feedback (as said, he wasn't my manager yet so only reported on 'issues', not actual performance), I began to suspect that by mid-May – I was scheduled to be in training until the last week of April – he was going to sit me down and say something like this: "Your call times are surprisingly low, your call volume is impressively high, your satisfaction score is great and your sales referrals are decent, but you're just not making it here." Durr, huh?
Anyhow, that's all water under the bridge and the world is my oyster again. (Shucks!) Hopefully the evaluation system at my next job will be based on skill and performance, like it is in most places, and the only thing I'm really happy about in my departure from the last job is that I no longer feel as though I'm doomed to failure despite being a success at the actual work duties. Wish me luck at the next great thing. Oh, and Rick: It's really unprofessional to add things not discussed in a meeting to the list of topics one signs saying they were discussed in order to build a paper trail, and even less wise to do so when your boss was witness to the meeting in question thus would know you're being dishonest. --#2
Nothing to say for March (forgot)
I'm still determined not to rant about politics, though I must say that I'm enjoying the Democratic Party's ads where no mud is slung: they just play part of a Bush speech, then show the statistics to prove what he's saying is the complete opposite of reality ("employment is up!" when unemployment has gotten worse, etc.). R.A.T. once stated that the most powerful quotes you can use come from the person you're speaking to, and as Will Rogers said, "I don't make jokes; I just watch the government and report the facts." It'd be tempting to complain about how my wife hates my driving, since I admit I get pretty tired of hearing about how I travel either above or below the posted speed limit, how I merge into traffic or change lanes when there are no cars nearby, and the ubiquitous angry question of why I don't jump on the gas the nanosecond the light turns green when I can do a moving finger-point at the vehicle that crossed the intersection 2 seconds after the light changed color or the person who did a California stop at a sign thirty feet in front of us... but I don't want to be like that British guy online who spent 40 pages going on about how insane his German girlfriend is (to that guy: Dude, you've been together for over 17 years and have two kids together yet never bothered to marry; YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO KVETCH, you're there voluntarily and choose not to leave). Nah, there's something that's been on my mind for awhile and I need to get it out of me, and that is: I hate it when friendships become estranged through no fault other than apathy.
For over five years I've been hanging out with this woman by the name of MeLissa, a charming and often overlooked person who juggles college (seeking a nursing degree) and a job (at a chain toystore, thus is surrounded by people with a high-school mentality regardless of their ages). During the summer we take time and make time to spend time together at local beaches, and in the other seasons we talk on the phone and in email to keep each other grounded, plus we both have been known to work at the Fair and first met in a theatre job where we were ushers (yeah, another high-school mentality scene). She's one of the few real friends I have on this side of the mountains despite my living over here for about eleven years. Last Autumn when our respective jobs in the customer service field required us to take on obnoxious hours, we agreed that we'd have to spend less time around one another and once we had our lives back we'd be in touch again. Well... I haven't heard from her. And though I think I saw her pass me the other day when I was in her parents' neighborhood and I drive past her work occasionally (three times today, in fact) it remains silent. And I decided that if she wants to be my friend, she can make contact, because she didn't seem as jazzed about our friendship late last year... and when I saw her drive by, something in my head twanged in a manner I hadn't heard in a few years, that sound it makes when I feel jilted – and historically my actions when I'm under that feeling aren't anything to brag about and certainly don't win the person's heart, which reinforces that I need to let her make the first move. If it never comes, so be it. My complaint is that being nonchalent and calm about people I care about paying me no mind doesn't come easily.
Today when I was in the Mall to buy some curtain hooks – I swear I've seen them in the dollar stores but after trying eight supermarkets, department stores, drug stores, and dollar stores I finally found them at the place where we got the curtains... since when are these common items so hard to find? – I got assistance in finding and purchasing the hooks from this woman with narrow nostrils (how does she pick her nose?), an unremarkable appearance, and a manner and laugh similar to MeLissa's. As I walked away with my purchase in pocket, I realized how much a moment with a person like that is like iodine: beneficial if used topically, toxic if taken internally in measurable quantity, but an essential part of one's diet in very small doses. I hope that clerk prevented a goiter inside my head.
By the way, Will Rogers also said this: "If we ever pass out as a great nation we ought to put on our tombstone, 'America died from a delusion that she has moral leadership.'" --#2
Nothing to say for January (lazy)
I wanted to say something that wasn't political, so it took me a month to come up with a good thing to Rant about. I'd been thinking about this marginally for the last week or so, but it wasn't until Chrome (R.A.T. #1) and I were rolling down the highway trying to figure something else to talk about than the military stupidity he's immersed in – and will be for another year, they're sending him to the Gulf despite the end of his term of service coming up in around 90 days – and the matter of the human dance came up. I know that people have been speculating about this thing for around ten thousand years, and some people even get rich writing books about the differences (a few even claim to have answers! fools!), but it's still no clearer.
Let's say there are three example situations: #1 - a man comes up to a woman at the bus stop and immediately says, "I want to play with your breasts." #2 - a man comes up to a woman at a bar, one or both of them have been drinking, and after about half an hour of talking and swaying the man says, in so many words, that he wants to play with her breasts. #3 - a man comes up to a woman at party, they make smalltalk, two hours pass and they're still enjoying one another's company, and they agree to meet again in a couple days to continue the conversation; they meet at least twice a week for a month, and she becomes more inclined toward him and eventually they're on the couch talking and kissing, and his hands go to her breasts – she thinks she's feeling something in her heart, while his sole intention is to feel something on her chest... que sera sera, and the next day he stops returning her calls. Okay, you have read the three situations, and something in your brain clicked and immediately decided what is Good and what is Bad. We have societal guidelines that say #1 is not permissible. It's also the most honest and fastest, and we've been taught we're supposed to be honest with one another most of the time, right? We have fuzzy logic about #2, because some could interpret the two as being uninhibited and playful while others could see this as taking an unethical advantage of diminished resistance. #3 starts and progresses the way we're programmed to think things should go, and the end causes some people to think dolefully "that's how the ball bounces" because it may have happened to them while other people become displeased with the man for causing false emotional pretexts, which may have also happened to them. It's also the most dishonest and slowest, yet this is the most socially acceptable form of using another, isn't it?
Humans have this quirk in their nature, where they shun the attention of people who are willing to give it freely, yet crave the attention of people who don't seem to have much interest in them. Is this the hunter-beast within us, working at the emotional level? We don't want what we can have, we want what we can't have. How often have you found yourself looking at someone who is pent up over another person, and thought, "he/she can surely do better than this, why don't they give others a chance?" Sure, they could do better, but they don't want that... they want this! It's ego gratification. It could be even a twisted form, where a nice, smart, good looking, well-to-do person who isn't "popular" is being spurned for an unkind, ignorant, sloppy, lazy person who fits a media stereotype as being desireable. I see a lot of that stupidity going around, and it's pretty bothersome to the well-mannered and intelligent people with a work ethic among us.
Speaking of ego gratification (and being among the bothered), it never ceases to amaze me when I see attractive women become involved with the popular-stereotype men who live for cigarettes, rice-burner cars, tattoos, pants around their hips, and gel on their two-inch-short hair. The misconception I tend to forget is a misconception: that these woman are intelligent merely because they're pretty. By actions, they're visibly not. But I think every one of us can name some female who is smart because we know this personally, yet is attracted to bad-boys – just the way we can name otherwise-intelligent males who have been blown way off course by their longing for or relationship with a woman that wears too much eye makeup and/or has a prime body (naturally or artificially). It goes both ways, and I wouldn't want you, dear reader, to only think that I'm grinding an axe about not getting attention of the hotties with tweezed eyebrows, small-of-back tribal tattoos, and a cell phone glued to their head. A lot of this has to do with media perception; we're marketed guys we wouldn't hire for an executive job as being Hot and women whose only asset is their bodies as being The Thing – they're the one to watch and the thing to own, and the rest of you plebians be damned if you can't live the life you see in a beer ad. It's sometimes hard to remember that you are happy you don't have to deal with the upkeep of such superficial losers, that you are quite pleased that you can have an in-depth conversation with the person at your side, and that the sex you get from your lover is better than the sex you imagine from another.
I saw a couple news articles the other day that say that since child pørn was outlawed in Sweden in 1999, vets are reporting that housepets hurt by human sexual conduct are on the rise (2000-3000 incidences a year). Is this anything like smokers kicking the habit then gaining weight because they're substituting food for cigs? I just had to mention this tidbit, it seemed a weird example of exchanging one unnatural human behavior for another instead of for something everyone can agree would be a healthy and socially acceptable outlet. Even the aforementioned slackers and sluts sound better in comparison.
I think I've vented. I didn't say I had a solution, other than whacking some people upside the head for falling for whatever the media says is God, and challenging people to think outside of their genetic coding once in awhile to make SENSE. --#2