Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Skip if you don’t like Sports

10/08/2012

I hate ESPN.

I’m not alone in this feeling, but I felt the need to voice the opinion.

I understand we’re a football nation, and they’re going to cover the NFL games in a lot more detail than baseball (despite the fact that it’s Week 5 in the former and THE F*CKING PLAYOFFS in the latter).  I understand that Washington isn’t a historic baseball town like, well, any of the other teams in the playoffs.  I understand there’s a sick fascination with The Yankees in this country.

However, in their two minutes of coverage of the Nats’ game tonight (after, oh, ten minutes of coverage of the Yankees and Reds games), we didn’t see any of the set-up (Gio Gonzales looking…bad; the Espinosa bunt that put both runners in scoring position) and all the commentary was about how The Cardinals didn’t want to go into DC down 0-2.  I understand the point: no team wants to be down 0-2 in a three game series.  Fine.  But there was no discussion about the play of the Nats or the fact that the go-ahead hit was pulled off by a pinch-hitter who’s a 25 year-old rookie who played out of his mind both in platooning as an outfielder and as a pinch-hitter.  There was no discussion about the fact that this team was widely considered at least a year away from contending by EVERYBODY and yet they had the best record IN BASEBALL and made the first post-season since 1933.

What’s especially infuriating about all of this is that it’s systemic.  All season long, the Nats got very little coverage from The Network, even when they were leading the league in wins mid-season and when they were involved in a tight race down the stretch (I understand Chipper Jones’ final season and the Braves being our direct competitor getting a really heavy dose of coverage, but he’s out of the picture now, so let’s maybe give us a shot?).  The one story that got any serious coverage was the, “Should the Nationals sit down Strasburg?  They’re in contention!” story.  I think Boswell put it best:

There is no subject up for public discussion in this country __no matter how obvious__ that doesn’t not have a well-reasoned and completely wrong group of nincompoops who’ll take the opposite side.

 

One of my biggest weaknesses __it’s a long list__ is that I’m not a “natural columnist” who has lots of VERY strong opinions. And almost no doubts about those opinions __including the ones that are nuts. I’m a reasonable, see-both-sides, try-to-be-fair person by nature __God, how boring. But I’m dead flat certain that I’m right on this one. (Which doesn’t mean I’m not wrong.) Yeah, yeah, I’m sure I’ll return to the subject.

 

As for the Nats winning the ’12 World Series WITH Strasburg, I’ll refer to the immortal words of Cowboys running back Duane Thomas when asked on national TV how it felt to win the “ultimate game” (the Super Bowl). Thomas said (haven’t looked up the exact quote): “If it’s the ‘ultimate game,’ how come they play it again next year?”

I understand we’re prisoners of the moment.  It’s why there are people who legitimately argue that LeBron is the greatest basketball player of all-time (I’m not even convinced it’s Jordan, to be honest, but I’ll argue about that in the comments).  Baseball isn’t like that.  It’s a long-game.  It suits my Macro preference for exactly that reason.  Besides, all the medical evidence points to the fact that the Nats made the right call in benching him (players aged 24 or younger don’t react well to being thrown back out there without the innings limit immediately after Tommy John’s, young pitchers have a hard time transitioning from the 40-ish innings they pitched in college to a full, 162-game season where they’re going to pitch 30-ish games barring injury, and Jordan Zimmermann, who, despite having too many consecutive consonants in his last name, is a shining example of sitting a guy the year after the surgery – his record doesn’t reflect it, but his ERA was 2.94 and was better than that until late August/September – and…oh, yeah, he’s Stras’ FREAKING TEAMMATE).

So…well done, ESPN.  Great coverage of a big story.  I look forward to your excellent reporting on all future endeavors.  Also, great coverage of hockey over the last four or five years.  Jackasses.

Being Good

08/04/2012

Hey readers.  Sorry it’s been a while since my last post.  A lot has happened since my last post over a month ago.  I left Fredericksburg, a place where I’ve spent the last almost six years (10 if you count college).  My uncle passed away.  He was a good man and will be missed.  A lot of other stuff that I’ll spare you the time reading (though the other two things might get their own posts…I’m not sure).  But for now, I’ll pose the following question.

A couple posts back, I asked for your idea of meaningful living or what qualities or characteristics you thought were vital to your person.  Ethan pointed out that perhaps I was asking the wrong question, and maybe I was.  I’ve been revisiting the thought process, though, having read a couple more writers on the subject, all of whom are much, much smarter than I am, and I’ve come to a related or perhaps superseding question.  What, to you, does it mean to be good?  I don’t mean simply avoiding being bad, because I’m not sure that qualifies as “being good [though, if you disagree, please feel free to make your argument below].”  If you site religious tenants or the following of a specific religion, I’d like you to elaborate more than just, “Buddhism,” or whatever your religion of choice is.  I’m really looking for positive answers here (positive, in this case, meaning proactive things) rather than passive things like abstaining from certain behaviors.  I’m also not looking for platitudes like “progress” or “being nice.”  I’d like you to be as specific as you can and/or feel comfortable being.  I may or may not have follow-up questions for you, and feel free to ask questions of others (assuming this actually gets responses, which it may or it may not; regardless, I figured I’d share what’s running through my head at the moment).

Strange Times

06/20/2012

Last Wednesday, Itinerant Intolerance (I’d link to it, but his blog appears to be down at the moment) moved out.  He’s on to bigger and better things, a job, applying to more grad schools, a life with his lady friend.  It’s still a bit strange.  We’d lived together for almost two full years and we’d kinda gotten each others’ rythms down (surprise, we’re both bass players).  I’ve had other roommates with whom I’ve been friends and who I have missed upon embarking upon our separate ways.  The relationship with this kid was different, in a lot of ways, though, as we both kinda saw each other at our worst and our best.  We managed not to kill each other, despite being remarkably similar (we’ve been confused for biological brothers both because of physical similarities and our similar personalities).  We had numerous HDRs about any topic from math and physics to philosophy and religion and just about any point in between.

The apartment feels empty without him, even though I’m deep in the throws of packing (which is going…okay I guess).  Hopefully he’s well and settling in nicely.  I miss him (but, hey, it’s not like somebody died).

I know I’m off to bigger and better things, too.  I’ll find a big-boy job eventually (hopefully sooner rather than later).  I’ll keep on plugging away at things until then (and this has been a great chance to reduce the amount of sh*t I currently own.  Hooray charitable donations!).

There’ll be a post about leaving Fred Vegas in the not too distant future, dear reader.  This place has been awesome, and it bears reflection.  Until then, stay awesome.

Remembering on Memorial Day

05/28/2012

My Dad and I just got back from Arlington National Cemetery where his parents are buried.  I always have a somewhat somber tone around Memorial Day and other military holidays – including the Fourth of July – and I often like to go visit Arlington if I have the time.  I always try to be mindful of the sacrifice that has made my life possible.

For those of you who don’t know, my family has a pretty long history of military service in the U.S. military, and a brief stint fighting against it during the Civil War on my Dad’s side.  My Mom’s Grandfather fought in World War I in the U.S. Army (though, admittedly, I know little about his service), both of my Grandfathers were involved in World War II; my Dad’s Dad having served as a mortarman in Italy and Germany, leaving the service as a Tech Sergeant in the U.S. Army.  

 

Terry James Dalton had some great war stories, including how he earned his Purple Heart by getting shot at the knee in Anzio (which is what got him into Arlington) and the time an 88mm shell hit within 10 feet of him while he was…relieving himself…and thankfully didn’t go off (if it had, I wouldn’t exist, as my Dad wasn’t conceived until well after the war), which he always liked to finish by stating, “I didn’t waste any toilet paper getting the Hell out of there.”  He also had an incident where he was trapped in front of his own lines as the assault the Third Infantry Division organized had been rebuffed, and he took cover in a crater.  He was pinned there for a while by a sniper until the sun began to set and he was able to extract himself safely (a theory he tested by putting his helmet on his bayonet multiple times and waited two hours until after it took a bullet), at which point he ran back to his own lines only to get shot at by a jumpy sentry, to which he responded, “It’s Dalton, God damn it!”  He ended his combat duties while stationed at Berchtesgaden, Hitler’s Summer home.  He came into possession of a silver fork with Adolf Hitler’s monogram in the handle while he was there.  After combat, he stuck around the European Theatre to defend American deserters and war criminals.

My Mom’s Dad’s tour in World War II was more post-war, flying in helicopters finding and marking graves for recovery details.  He got out briefly and then re-enlisted.  I am unclear if he was in combat in Korea, but he served three combat tours in Vietnam as a mechanic and door gunner.  All three of my blood-related uncles – my Mom’s brothers – Joseph, Jeffrey, and Charles served in the U.S. Army in various capacities.  My Mom’s sister, Sarajane, was also an Army nurse.  Her husband, Robert, was a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy and served as an infantry officer in Vietnam.

Both of my parents are former U.S. Marines.  My Dad was a Marine Corpse Judge Advocate, and my Mother was a Supply Officer.  My mother was the first Woman Marine (WM) attached to 7th Communications Battalion, she was also one of the very first WMs attached to Weapons Training Battalion in Quantico, VA (where my parents met).  Two of my cousins are former military as well, and I apologize for probably misidentifying their branches, but I’m trying.  Ray served in the U.S. Army, as did his brother Nick.

Itinerant Intollerance, my roommate and one of my closest friends, is a former U.S. Marine, having served two tours in Iraq.  Several of my friends from high school, including Doug Beer and Stan Kaminski, served in various services – the two I mentioned the U.S. Army and the U.S. Chair Force Air Force (sorry Stan, no offense intended).

I intended to enlist following graduation from high school.  My Mother encouraged me to attend college and then volunteer to become an officer.  Due to a sports injury sustained in high school and worsened in college, I was medically unfit for the U.S. Marines, and did not seriously consider any other branches, as most of them would have only accepted me in a support capacity, and I did not want to be a REMF.

But, to be honest, my story is largely unimportant.  I only include it because it is something that saddens me, and I feel is somewhat relevant.  The point of this post is that I have been both incredibly lucky to have had so many family members and friends serve to defend the liberties which I now currently enjoy in the luxury of my parents’ living room and incredibly lucky that they have all survived their military service.  “Thank you,” to all of the people I have listed above – and all of the service men and women past, present, and future serving either at times of war or of peace, will never be enough, but it is all I can offer.  Thank you for the sacrifices you have made and continue to make – be it sweat, time away from the comforts of home and family, blood, or your lives.  I often become frustrated with the state of this nation, especially its treatment of our veterans, but days like today, I am reminded of the wonderful things this nation has been, still is, and can still become.

Goodnight, Little Bear

04/23/2012

So at 4 PM today, my dog, Shadow D. Dog, went in to the vet’s for the last time.  We had to put her down after 15 good years with us.  She was the best damn friend not related by blood I’ve ever had, and certainly the longest.  To be honest, I’m pretty torn up about it.  Yes, she was “just a dog,” but damn it, she was my dog.  I don’t want this post to be one long sob story, so I’m going to share a series of stories that are fonder memories.  These thoughts are not necessarily in any order other than how they come to me.

When we went to get a dog the Spring of when I was 13, we got one from a rescue agency that rescued dogs from other rescue agencies (apparently, in Texas, rescue agencies fill up and will occasionally put dogs down after a year or two).  The woman brought out well over 20 dogs, ranging in size and shape.  I remember that when they first got out of her truck, I was drawn to a big, fluffy sheep dog.  It was roughly the same size as I was at the time and was awesome.  It also had mange, and my parents gently steered me away from him.  Then there was this little black and white dog that was tiny by comparison.  We were told she was a Border Collie, and her markings bore that out.  We didn’t realize at the time that in fact she was a Border Corgi (half-Border Collie, half-Corgi).  She just kinda strayed from the pack of dogs who were all being…well…stupid dogs.  She stood on her own (something we would later attribute to probably being raised with cats) and, as a result, stood out.  Because of her ears and her stature, she looked like a small bear (hence the title of this post).  We walked a number of the dogs, and we settled on this peculiar specimen.  On the ride home, we were trying to come up with a name for her, and we agreed on Shadow, in part because of my love for the book/movie “The Incredible Journey.”

We had Shadow a few weeks and we noticed that she had a chewing problem.  At the time, she was given reign of the house at night and she often chewed the spines of books.  This did not sit well with my parents, as we have a relatively large library (for those of you who haven’t been to my folks’ house, it’s got 9 book cases in the living room alone).  With a little research, we realized that Border Collies chew when they’re nervous and not exercised enough.  We also learned that five-mile runs are warm-ups for Border Collies…so we were a little nervous.  Thankfully, she had Corgi legs, so two miles was about her limit, and most of that at a trot rather than a run.  Once we sorted that out, a general peace was held in the Dalton household as there was no way I was giving this dog back.

Shadow cemented her place in the home, however, the following Thanksgiving.  I was sick as a dog (proverbially).  I slept all day, woke up for dinner, ate about four bites of food, and then went back to bed.  Shadow was a notorious beggar and if there was food, she was never more than a few steps away, looking at you with big, sad eyes.  However, this day, despite all of the delicious food (I assume, as my mother’s cooking is excellent, I don’t really remember much other than throwing up), Shadow stayed in my room at the foot of my bed all day.  I was informed of this a few days later when I was feeling better.  My mom fell in love with her then, because the dog was taking care of her baby boy.

In Texas, there are no leash laws (or at least there weren’t then), and in an attempt to help her get her exercise, Shadow was often let out in the mornings.  Across the street, there was a Bichon Frise named Jake who was also let out in the mornings.  Apparently, Shadow’s mind couldn’t differentiate between Bichon Frise and sheep (both Border Collies and Corgis are used to herd them), and one day, She ran across the street at full-tilt, lowered her head, and slammed into Jake’s ribs knocking him down, which is apparently used to move sheep in the direction you want.

Also, because she was unsupervised, Shadow would often come home covered in mud.  At the time, we had an in-ground pool.  When she would come home filthy, we would send her out to the pool, make her stand on the top step, and then clean her off as best we could without soap.  One day, she came home and immediately went to the back door.  We were all surprised because she’d just come in.  Shadow was let out, and she then proceeded to trot over to the pool unprompted, stand on the top step, and wait until someone came and cleaned her.  This is only made funnier by the fact that she hated water, as her short, Corgi legs didn’t aid her in swimming.

The last story of her roaming the streets of Beaumont is possibly the funniest.  As most owners with a dog are wont to do, we tried to train Shadow to fetch the newspaper.  Problem: she’s a herd-dog.  In her head, we didn’t want our paper, we wanted all the papers.  We would often come out after letting her out to find 10 to 20 newspapers piled at the end of our walk.  If you’re in Beaumont and from our old neighborhood, sorry about that.  This was a behavior we tried to break her of, which I’m sure only confused her further.  “But you said you wanted these?  WHAT AM I DOING WRONG?!?”  I can hear her say in my head.  After we realized what she understood, we stopped asking, which was probably for the best.

It wasn’t uncommon to find small herds of frogs rounded up into circles with an ever-watching dog near-by in the mornings.  If one of the frogs tried to hop away, Shadow would circle and it would realize that there was a much larger animal prepared to nip it if it continued in its behavior.  The frog would then hop back into formation, and the dog would circle and sit back down.  Shadow was also notorious for herding children and our family if we took her for bike rides.  She would weave behind us to make sure we were riding in line and if we weren’t, she’d run up and force us over and then take up her position in back of the pack.  Come to think of it, she was probably the smartest damn animal I’ve ever known, and was probably smarter than most of my classmates in the Philosophy department.  I definitely got along with her better than most of them, at least.

When we lived in Texas, it wasn’t uncommon to leave her in the back yard for long periods of time (a couple hours).  Shadow also had the Border Collie tendency of digging.  My mother is a gardener, and she was less than pleased by this behavior.  We built a pen for Shadow behind the garage, and this was her abode while we were gone.  We nicknamed the pen, “The Cooler,” after the holding cell in “The Great Escape.”  She hated that damn thing.  She tried to dig out, she actually tried to chew out at one point.  One day, after about two years of its use, we realized she had learned to behave as we wanted, so we didn’t need The Cooler any more.  My dad and I took it out in a couple hours while Shadow lounged inside (Texas summers are…hot…in case you didn’t know).  After we were done, my dad came inside and said, “Okay, Shadow, Cooler,” to which the dog responded by getting up, looking sad and dejected, and trotting to the area the pen was with her head down.  As she rounded the corner, she saw that the pen was gone, and she was happy.  She actually smiled.

After about two-and-a-half years in Texas with her, we moved back to Virginia.  She handled the drive back like a champ, if not confused.  We got back in late August, and I’m pretty sure she was happiest when it began to cool off.  She had a thick coat, and I can only imagine that Texas heat was fucking miserable for her.  It was for me, and I’m only covered over about 60 percent of my body in fur.  A few Winters later, it snowed pretty heavily (about two-and-a-half to three feet).  Shadow wasn’t exactly sure how to proceed.  We let her out and she walked out, and promptly fell into a dog-shaped hole.  She looked around, undoubtedly confused, and then hopped up and over the bank in front of her only to fall into another dog-shaped hole.  This proceeded for several minutes.  She still seemed happy.  Apparently, in the snowmageddon of a few years ago, there were snow banks so high she could have easily walked over the four-foot fence around our yard, but she was content to have a change of perspective.

The dog helped me move out of my parents’ house and into my first college dorm, and then every one subsequent to it.  She helped me move a few times after, too, and she often came to visit when my parents were going out of town.

Shadow was a great dog, and I’ll never find one to replace her.  Not to say I won’t own other dogs, but none of them are the same, and I can’t expect them to be.  I loved that dog more than I like most people.  Maybe that’s a comment about some disordered thing in me, but it’s the truth.

I wrote a haiku about her when I got the news last week that this day was coming (I knew, in the hypothetical sense that it was an inevitability, but it didn’t become real until it was).  You’ll find it below, along with one of my favorite pictures of her.

Goodnight, beloved

Your memory lives on if

I am who you thought

Image

So.  With all that in mind, I love you, Shadow.  I hope there are sheep – or at least Bichon Frise – to chase in Heaven.

Love,

Your Boy

Super Powers

04/15/2012

Hey everybody, today’s post is going to be a bit of a departure from the norm, but may become a norm in and of itself.  I’ve always found the responses give to completely unrealistic hypotheticals to be a good way for me to learn something I may have overlooked in getting to know them (or, if I’m just meeting them, a good way to get to know them and the way they think).

So, in light of the above, I messaged a couple people and asked the following question: What are your top three desired super powers and why.  Some of you were better about responding to the first part than the second, but I appreciate it anyway.  I’m hoping those of you that did not will expand on your reasoning in the comments, and, of course, if I didn’t message you about it, I’d love to see your three in the comments as well.  Hope you enjoy.  Each section will be followed by “-end-” to let you know where their reasoning ends and my commentary begins.

Jon M. responds:

1) Aquaman: i don’t know how to specify the “power” here, but Aquaman, despite being a lame superhero has the greatest powers of all time. Flight is for suckers. the sky is blue and empty. the only way that flight becomes worthwhile is if your peers can see you fly and envy you. that’s stupid. the abilitiy to see, breathe, maneuver and survive underwater at all depths and pressures is tops. Swimming is like flight, except that there’s still so much of the world that remains unexplored. there are cave systems and creatures and depths left untouched. you can still see beauty and mystery in the world and you don’t need external human validation. Also, it’s apparently a big deal that james cameron has built a new submarine from scratch, dove to the bottom of the mariana trench and found nothing. imagine how great it would be to walk on the floor of the sea and to see nothing, or see something, and to decide what to do with that information.

2) Reference: to this day, i imagine what it would be like to have the power of infinite reference. the power goes as follows: at any time, i can pull up a floating tv/movie/computer screen that plays back specific moments in history. “that’s not what i said” becomes obsolete when you can show that exact moment to the person you’re talking to. i haven’t quite figured out the flaw to the power. there needs to be specific limitations, lest the power simply be omniscience after-the-fact.

3)shape shifting: not to be confused with Mimicry, shape shifting would allow for appearing differently. nothing else. Shifting to the appearance of someone else (not necessarily a real, corporeal form) for an extended period of time would be amazing. you could become a person, animal or fictional character. but only visually. if you transformed into a bird, you would have to learn how to maneuver your body to fly. if you transformed into a fish, you would not be able to breathe underwater because you would not have gills.

i suppose if i wanted to take this less seriously, i’d just make myself God. Power 1) Omniscience. Power 2)Omnipotence. and Power 3) Omnipresence. but for some reason, i think that all superpowers require a limitation in order for them to be appreciated. This is why Marvel comics faltered so hard in the late 90’s/early 00’s. They kept trying to introduce new characters/mutants with new powers. but in order to make them competitive in the already crowded/oversaturated hero market (and to hope that these new characters started new moneymaking franchises), these powers became almost too powerful. so out of respect for the question, all three of my powers have limitations in addition to power.

-end-

First, I appreciate Jon’s requirement for limitation on super powers.  I agree with him, which is one reason I’ve never really liked Superman – a superhero so powerful that we have to make up a weakness for him/her is lame.  I also love his argument for Aquaman.  Aquaman gets kicked around a lot, because, let’s face it, he’s useless when it comes to fighting crime (yes, yes, I know the reboot made him more badass and awesome).  But the powers themselves are cool.  Maybe he just sucks at using them?

Shape-shifting in such a limited form is a really interesting concept.  I think I like that better than mimicry, honestly.

Robyn C. responds:

1) telekinesis. Laziness means not having to get up to get the remote. Wrestling the last garlic knot away from someone becomes much easier. And if I try hard enough, I can fly without wings or whatever.

2. Invisibility. Makes people watching easier. Or just watching sexy men get naked in locker rooms.

3. Flight. Because I wanna be like a fuckin’ dragon.

-end-

For those of you that don’t know Robyn, she does have dragon wings on her back…so…I’m not terribly surprised by #3.  Though, honestly, I’m not really surprised by any of her responses.

Stephanie J. responds:

Beast Master: because being able to turn into any animal can encompass [virtual] invisibility, flight, inhuman speed and strength, and a slew of other powers. Not to mention how awesome the whole “I’m a bobcat” part would be just in itself.

Telepathy: because I’d like people to have no avenue for denial when I tell them things about themselves they’d rather not acknowledge.

Green Thumb: I like plants…I’d like to be much, much better at not killing them.

-end-

Regarding telepathy, just because you know they’re lying and they know they’re lying doesn’t mean they’d be any more willing to acknowledge it without a playback method maybe?

Would Beast Master include the ability to change into protozoa or something that small, or when you say “virtual” invisibility, do you mean like ants?

M-A-T-T responds:

Telekinetic, telepathy, green lantern

-end-

Love to hear your reasoning if you have the time.

Matt R., or as he will now be known, The White Bombadier (specifically in reference to #3 below) responds:

1. Flight – I could go anywhere, anytime.
2. Super Speed – Again, the ability to go anywhere but in a short amount of time.
3. Whatever Gambit has the makes him blow up cards – you never know when you’ll need some light demolition.

-end-

I find it interesting that two of your powers are related to travel, and the third, destruction.  The answer you were looking for in regards to Gambit’s power is the ability to turn the potential energy in an object into kinetic energy. *pushes glasses back up*

Lawton C. (though the last initial is probably unnecessary.  How many Lawtons will you meet in life?) responds:

ability to fly
indestructability (at least at times when I wanted it)
telekinesis, or at least the ability to accurately direct a projectile to any point I can see

-end-

Again, love to see some explanation.

Elizabeth C. writes:

1. Telekinesis – similar to Xavier. I feel as though it would give me a lot more understanding about how other people felt if I was debating something (which I’m not really sure that it would be morally ethical to really reach into their minds and feel that for myself, but since this is a hypothetical I won’t loose sleep over it). Also I feel as though my smarts would increase. And I’d ace every chemistry test I’d ever have to take.  This might increase laziness but eh….
2. Ability to change form – similar to Mistique/Tonks? Disguise is always useful. Also in a more mundane manner – I’d never have to deal with the bullshit hair problems that many women deal with. If I want curly hair I have it, no time wasted.
3. Control over the way things grow. And I’m not just talking plants. If I could grow steel (create molecule bonding?), that would be awesome. Also rocks. Growing rocks would be cool.

-end-

By the way, your superhero name is now Petrosaurus Desidiosus.  Don’t get mad when you translate it.

Christine M.:

1. Teleportation, so I never have to buy plane tickets again
2. The ability to turn things into chocolate, because it’s delicious
3. The ability to speak and understand all foreign language, for when I teleport around the world so I can really enjoy my visits

-end-

Again with the travel.  #2 may is either brilliantly creative or a still-creative-twist on a children’s moral story where you’ve replaced “gold” with “chocolate,” which may have been done already (in which case we’re totally not trying to infringe on any copyrights, Internet).

B:

1. Teleportation. This is more important to me than flying because it’s so instantaneous.

2. Complete and total Indestructibility. Anything from getting shot to passing through the sun. This would give me the ability to explore everything I want and protect those who need help.

3. Selective omniscience. I don’t want to know everything at once, but I want to know the things I want to know. For instance, if I’m curious about how a combustion engine works, I would just know. Things I don’t think about would be irrelevant.

-end-

Would you only be able to teleport to visible locations a la early The Incredible Nightcrawler?  Or would you end up traveling through some alternate dimension a la late The Incredible Nightcrawler?  Or would you just teleport?

Bear R.:

Teleportation for sure. Shapeshifting is cool. Super strength would be useful. I’m already indestructible and have extremely heightened attractiveness so I dont need to adjust that.

-end-

So modest, too.

Lucas H.:

1. Regeneration/Healing – (like Wolverine or Deadpool) To be able to go out do thing that I know will hurt, but wont stop me would be awesome. I like the idea of invulnerability, but it leads to a level of arrogance and boredom. The loss of emotions like fear and pain would lead to a kind of detachment that could be crippling.

2. Telekinesis – (like Cable) being able to manipulate objects with my mind would be extremely helpful in the day-to-day. Especially when you are working on some thing and you need a “third hand” or you cant reach something. It would also be helpful when stuck in traffic because having to wait for some group of morons to learn how to merge is aggravating. Just lift your car and head home.

I have a tie for third. I like both of these powers, but would be happy to have either (and disappointed for not having the other).

Create Pocket Dimensions of Infinite Holding – Just awesome! Never have to take a bag anywhere and you could go anywhere and have your stuff on hand at all times. Who wouldn’t want this ability?!

Instant Learning -Like in The Matrix (but without the plug up). The idea of being able to learn/understand/use any thing/concept/skill that see or hear could prove to more useful in life, but I only want it just cause.

-end-

Dude, great list.  I love the answer about the pockets of infinite holding.  Would you be creating infinite space or simply accessing another plane?

Katherine M.:

1. ability to pause time – just because there is never enough time
2. invisibility – so I can play tricks on people and explore anywhere I want
3.Teleportation – just because it would be very useful and money saving

-end-

I see you and your sister think alike regarding #3.  Would pausing time pause time for everyone or just you?  And would pausing time also pause space for everyone but you/those you choose or would space continue as normal without time?

Itinerant Intolerance:

I’d like to be able to change states of matter, like solid to liquid, liquid to gas, etc.  It’s just neat.

I’d like to retain images perfectly.  Better than so-called photographic memory.

I want to be able to read and understand things instantly.

The last two are because they’re of the mind, and that’s kind of my style.

-end-

Another well-thought list.  I do think I’d get bored being able to read/understand instantly, though.  It might reduce the need for thinking things through.

Alright, I’ve asked questions and posted the responses of others, I suppose it’s only fair that I share my list (though I am tempted to just steal a couple from the above lists because they’re so well-reasoned).  These are listed in no particular order.

The ability to teleport, preferably long distances, but I’d accept even just places I can see because if you get far enough west where it’s flat, that’s still possibly more than a mile a jump.  I would prefer being able to just jump rather than the alternate dimension option, as there are shadow creatures there who are trying to murder me. *pushes glasses up*

I’d like to be able to absorb and recycle force/energy – kinda like Gambit’s powers, but also kinda like invulnerability (at least to physical attacks).  I would be able to absorb, say, a punch or being hit by a car and then store that energy (possibly for only a limited amount of time) and transfer that energy 1:1 for some other purpose – maybe add the energy into a punch of my own (making my punches about 1.5xs the power of normal people, since, y’know, I punch at like .5xs the power of normal people now) or take being hit by a car and use that force to be able to jump a ridiculous height or distance (though, I suppose a possible flaw with this would be that I wouldn’t have super healing or a super healthy [is that the right word?] body, so landing might kill me…but…I don’t know).

I would also love the regenerative powers of Wolvie/Deadpool.  Much like Lucas, I appreciate that there would be physical consequences which wouldn’t be there with true invulnerability, but I would be able to recover from them so much faster that it would be worth doing.  I wouldn’t necessarily want the whole “survive decapitation” or “be brought back from a drop of blood” (I don’t care that that took a wish from the Red Witch, it was too far), but I’d like to be able to be badly injured/killed in “normal” ways (bullet to the heart, heart regenerates and starts again – ’cause, y’know, that’s not too far).

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about some of my friends, and for those of you that know each other, I hope you like piecing together who’s who.

Friendship

04/03/2012

So, over the past two weeks or so, I’ve been very fortunate for a number of reasons.  This post will address one of them.

I’ve had a lot of Heavy, Deep, and Real conversations (HDRs from here on) with some really close friends and some pretty good acquaintances.  The term is one that my dad introduced me to (I think) regarding conversations of substance on any range of topics.  They’ve been pretty awesome for me, and hopefully the others involved.

Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks to those of you who read this and are brutally honest with me and allow me to be brutally honest with you because it’s stuff like that that keeps me going.  It’s all I can ask of friendship, even if hearing something isn’t always easy.

So, again, thanks.

 

Unmasking

03/22/2012

So as many of my posts have indicated, I’m doing some soul-searching at the moment. I was reminded of several conversations recently because of another one. I had a conversation with somebody recently with whom I’m developing a really good friendship. During this conversation, the person said something to the effect of, “I’m really glad I’m getting to know the deeper side of you. There was always something about you in groups that was fake.” The person went on to say that between interacting with me in groups and reading my blog, s/he wished s/he could get to know the person that wrote this blog, despite knowing the person who I am in public. I must admit that being called fake hurt (ow…my pride), but I knew what the person meant, and s/he wasn’t wrong.

I’ve often thought and possibly even spoken to some of you about the fact that I wear a series of masks depending on what situation I’m in and what is expected of me. I’m a people pleaser, and I like to be what people need me to be, so I’ll often swallow myself and let myself become what I need to. I do this for more reasons than this, though. I do it to protect myself. It’s easier to be a bit of a caricature of ones self than to be your true self. Being your true self is to be vulnerable and, quite frankly, a bit terrifying. If someone rejects the caricature, you can always say to yourself, “Eh, no big loss.” If someone rejects your true self, you’re pretty much screwed. Another friend of mine once told me I build walls for protection, but that ultimately, they just leave me feeling lonely, and s/he was right, too.

Further, the mask protects the other person. An ex of mine once likened me to the lion in Madagascar. No, not because I’m as annoying as Ben Stiller, but rather because of a scene once they’ve been stranded on whatever island it’s supposed to have been and the meat supply has dried up, so the lion starts to look at all the other animals and see steaks. As a result, he leaves and builds an enclosure much like the one he lived in in NY, complete with spikes facing inward to prevent him from jumping the walls and hurting anyone. My ex said that I often do that – shut down and leave just to protect people. I guess she was right. I had never thought of that, but I suppose it’s a furtherance of the whole protecting other people from the potential monstrosity that is me.

No, I don’t mean that I’m actually a monstrosity, but I do acknowledge that there are some flaws in me that can become dangerous to other people, including my ability and sometimes over-willingness to cut with words. I’ve learned to control that for the most part, but I still tend to extricate myself with little to no warning if I feel like I’m going to say or do something that will harm someone else.

I guess writing these posts is a bit of a way that I try to take those masks off from time to time. I have a couple friends, not many, that know me without the masks. It’s something I should be more often, but I find it hard to be comfortable in my own skin. Deflection through different personalities is how I deal with that. So, if you catch me doing it (if you can tell), call me on it. I’ll try to be better about it, but it’s an ingrained behavior.

Hope you’re well, dear reader.

Writing

03/18/2012

So, lately, per the Art of Manliness‘ suggestion, I’ve been trying to write a manifesto.  No, not a crazy ranting about how the government is stealing my thoughts which is why I wear my tinfoil hat (though they totally are and I totally do), but this kind of manifesto.  I don’t know that it will actually be a public declaration, but it will be a declaration that I’ll read and think about (putting pen to paper always makes something more real to me, which is why I prefer to write stuff out first and then post it to the Intertubes, even on this site).

It’s more difficult than I thought it would be, mostly because I want to start with a value or ideal that I hold for which I would be willing to die.  “A man who won’t die for something is not fit to live.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.  While I think that’s true, I’m not sure I have a conviction that I hold that deeply.  I used to.  That’s disturbing.

Itinerant Intolerance and I were discussing this conundrum (and ideology in general) and have been for some time.  One of the points of discussion is that perhaps part of the world’s problems right now is that there are too many ideologies clamoring for attention, support, and action.  While this may be true (I’m not wholly convinced of the validity of this argument for a number of reasons), it does not imply that there aren’t ideologies or values that aren’t worth having, it’s just that they’re difficult to identify among so many voices.

Also, I’m not saying that I’m living in direct opposition to King’s quote.  I have a list of things i would gladly lay my life down for, but they’re not abstracts.  They’re people.  That’s not a bad thing, but it’s not exactly a guiding principle, either.  I extrapolated that arguably, I could be willing to die for “love of others,” but I’m not sure if that’s true.  If I were, then I’d be dead by now from going and doing something ridiculous heroic.

I guess a part of it is just that the things I used to hold as true and admirable aren’t necessarily things that I think can be applied at all times.  I’m for basically all of the individual rights as laid out in the U.S. Bill of Rights, but there are limits to them (Justice Holmes springs to mind, as do rudimentary gun control laws).  I could make an argument that logic and rationality will be what I want to be my guiding principles, but I’m not a Vulcan or a computer, and emotion isn’t inherently something bad or to be shunned.  So…yeah…it’s a lot harder than I thought (at least the first, arguably most important one.  I’ve got several other things that I’m including, but they’re not ideologies).

Feel free to list your guiding principles or a guiding principle or something you think would be a good one or whatever if you wanna.

Mixed Bag

03/09/2012

So, as I’m sure Itinerant Intolerance would be more than pleased to tell you, I’ve been a little angsty lately (y’know, in case you missed some of my recent posts).  I’m trying to keep a positive spin on life, but it’s difficult, especially for someone who has a bit of a pessimistic streak.  I got all worked up about politics and the direction of the country (don’t get me wrong, at this point, I think we’re pretty much sunk regardless of which ideologues get control specifically because of the divisiveness and unwillingness to compromise or reach sane ends on both sides…which only causes me to become more frustrated for a multitude of reasons which I’m trying desperately to pass on writing about here…though I may find myself unable to pass on the opportunity to rant, as this parenthetical is already roughly half of what I’ve written.  Damn), and he kind of laughed at me for a while and talked me in off the proverbial ledge.  I just get so sick of it, but I’ve been conditioned to follow it between my parents’ encouragement to do so and growing up primarily around the DC Beltway (sure, I wasn’t here the whole time, but it’s rubbed off a fair bit).

So, instead of focusing on things, I figured I’d post about some of the other things going on in my life.

Based on the swelling, I’m pretty positive I broke/cracked the third knuckle (furthest from the hand) of my middle finger on my left hand about three weeks ago.  It hurts, kinda, but not too badly.  It’s mostly just annoying when I try to flex or straighten it all the way.  The injury was done having fun, though, so I can’t complain too much.

I’ve started drawing again (thankfully I’m primarily right-handed).  Right now I’m working on a logo for something and have the font narrowed down to two choices – a traditional calligraphy that reminds me of medieval texts and a more Celtic calligraphy style that has a better “A” than the alternative (by better, here, I of course mean more pleasing to me, though I must admit the rest of the script is bland-ish and kind of underwhelming).  By the way, doing calligraphy with a pencil is a huge pain, but sadly my pens aren’t here in the apartment, so if I want it, it’s what I’ve got to work with.

I’m working on some other projects that again are just for me and have little to no artistic value whatsoever, but they make me smile, so that’s a thing.

So, dear reader, keep fighting the good fight.  I’ll try to do my part.