Vacation Retrospective

June 24, 2017

 

It took so much effort, not to make an effort.

“Florida” by Modest Mouse

Alternatively titled, “Why Do I Have To Go Back To Work Tonight?”

It was a good vacation.  I had hoped to be done with the inking of Order of the Dragon #1, I am about four pages short on that.  Working on lettering the fourth page right now, redoing a bit of dialog that’s been bothersome.  Hopefully the next day or two and I will get that done.  I’d like to be getting something printed off in actual book form, but I’ll see where I am at that point.  I’m posting the pages I’ve got lettered.  Couple of minor things I’ve got to fix on those, but it is underway.

Wanted to go kayaking more.  Rained almost every day.  Never really got around to a few outdoor projects I wanted to.  vigilante lawncare and such.  Oh well.

Applied for a couple of jobs.  Mentioned something about the soap factory to my Mother, who said it was probably a good thing I didn’t go there because it “might bother my allergies.”  And all the cleaning chemicals I’m around every night at work doesn’t do that?

 

 

That song lyric from Modest Mouse has been bouncing around my head for a few days.  Basically sums up my thoughts on a few matters.  One of the things I think people like to say is that they put so much effort into something when it seems obvious they did not.  Not really.  In those cases, I do think people put more effort into trying to convince people they did make that effort in the days after rather than trying in the first place.  Trying to buy solutions rather than getting into the problems themselves.  I will admit to cases in my life where there was more effort spent to convince everyone else of the effort put forth.

Effort is obvious.  If you’re making an effort, there won’t be much question.  One of the things I tried to avoid doing is talking too much about what I did to make things work in a variety of areas because it is or should be obvious.  I have gone into detail about a few things, but it was nothing I thought was not obvious.  And I don’t deny there were times I could have made more of an effort.

In any relationship, professional or personal, effort works on reciprocation.  At work, I think it is clear I have made efforts to make my situation and make it better to no avail.  I think people know I’ve made the effort and am focused on getting into a better situation, but at this point there has been little matching of my effort.  With LMCBW, I think people know that I made a lot of efforts in that situation that were not necessarily reciprocated by her.  Business or professional, relationships are in trouble if one side is buying solutions or avoiding effort.

“Do.  Or do not.  There is no try.”  I think Yoda nails it.  Point is, people can tell when you’re not making that effort.  I’ve been in a relatively bad situation in one way or another for most of the last four or five years.  As much as I’ve stalled out and had to make some adjustments, I’m continuing to make those efforts.  I won’t be wasting a lot of time explaining that I’ve made an effort.  If it isn’t clear, people need to start looking again.  I have no interest in explaining the obvious to people.

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I’ve been working on this science fiction novel for awhile now, basically humanity in the far future encounters this “supreme being” that might or might not be the next step of human evolution.  The story generally had this heavy influence of Jim Starlin’s Adam Warlock stories from the seventies–which I’m a huge fan of–and novels like Dune and Stranger In A Strange Land.  Still have a lot of work to do on it, but I’ve been chugging along with it.  I’ve posted a chapter or two here.

Anyway.

I was working on a scene where Tristan–the “supreme being” at the center of the story–encounters Pax, who appears to be a similarly advanced human.  I’m still working on it, but there’s this line of dialog that’s I felt like sharing.  Tristan is discussing her nature.  For context, there are different racial factions called Avians, Sand People, etc… in the story.

“You act like you’re better than them,” he laughed.  “Man, woman.  Baseline, Avian, Sand Rat, Plains folk… You.  All just different words for human.  You can apply all the labels you want to yourself or others, but in the end it all means the same thing.  You’re all human.”

 

I was thinking about the Women’s Marches over the weekend.  I did a haphazard post about the way women’s responsibilities are viewed and wanted to review some of those ideas.  At times I’ve described myself as a feminist, but being a guy and using that term can be tricky.*  I recall a couple of quotes that help to formulate my viewpoint.  First is from Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg–who’s middle name I keep wanting to write as “Badger” for some reason–where she was asked about when there would be enough women on the Supreme Court.  Her answer was “When there are nine.”  Now I would argue for something more in line with a thought of equality, but men are not really doing that good of a job, so why not let some women have a real shot?

The second quote comes from Maisie Williams of Game of Thrones.  In the process of being a twelve year-old trying to understand the concept of feminism, she came across this brilliant thought.

“And then someone explained it to me. And I remember thinking, “Isn’t that just like everyone?” And then I realized everyone is not a feminist, unfortunately. But I also feel like we should stop calling feminists “feminists” and just start calling people who aren’t feminist “sexist” — and then everyone else is just a human. You are either a normal person or a sexist.”

That actually really fit my perspective.  Gay or straight.  Black or white.  Christian or Muslim.  Feminist or sexist.  They are all different words that really mean human.  In my mind, being human means trying to keep moving forward.  That’s all there is to it.  People have got to think of each other as human before anything else so we can all move forward.

 

*I don’t deny that my rambling about my ex could be seen as somewhat contradictory to that idea and sexist.  I’m far from perfect.  Working on it, but not quite yet.  I do feel like in exploring a lot of those thoughts I have found some conclusions and questions that frame a debate on that though.  Like isn’t it kind of sexist for a woman to cite a lack of initiative to propose as a reason to break up?  As I’ve said, a lot of it was to grok a deeper fullness of understanding and I think that has been accomplished in a lot of ways.

A Woman’s Responsibility?

October 10, 2016

(Please understand, I’m not trying to condone or condemn anyone with this.  I’m just trying to outline some speculation on responsibilities and roles in relationships.  I’m also not going to get into legalities.  Also, I know it is a very standard presentation of the argument, but it could apply to all types of relationships.)

So… Donald Trump has engaged in this tactic of attacking Hillary Clinton through Bill’s affairs.  My general feeling is “So you’re dredging this up to prove a point?  That Hillary shouldn’t be President because Bill is too much like you?”  Anyway, I had a brief conversation about it with a conservative individual who brought up an interesting point.  Kind of point I haphazardly touched on years ago when I was young and stupid, but still interesting.  The idea suggested was that it showed a lack of control from Hillary of Bill.  Now, I’m going to outline a speculative piece, because it does raise some interesting questions in my mind about roles in relationships.

There have been a couple of scenarios in my own life that kind of add some interesting details to it.  Mostly its some ancient history, but it frames my discussion a bit.

First story is about an aunt and uncle.  To sum up, there were some drugs and alcohol involved that ended with my uncle in jail.  I’m not going into detail, but it did make the newspapers.  Some people in the family have criticized my aunt’s handling of it, basically stating that she was not nearly as concerned with her children’s safety as she should have been.

Second is a point about an old relationship that went sour just over a year ago.  I’ve written a lot about this, but I wanted to use an anecdote to position the question a bit more.  Few months after breaking up we got into a bit of a back and forth over some of what I wrote here.  In that exchange, she made some remark about how I should “read a book about sex and the female body.”  This stuck with me because for two reasons.  One, I had been reading about such things when we were still together because I wasn’t really happy with my sexual prowess either.  And two, a lot of what I read indicated the woman should be taking the responsibility to make sure I’m getting the job done right.

I’m just using that bit of history to frame this line of questioning.  I have raised questions about the amount of responsibility she’s taken for much of anything, but as far as I’m concerned, it is ancient history.

So the questions I’m speculating on are really concerned with where do you really draw those lines of responsibility?  Let’s not forget, everybody is wired differently.  My ex never really acknowledged that I could’t exactly look up a cheat code to push the right buttons to make us live happily ever after, even though she had that expectation.  And as much as I took responsibility for that ending, I would be lying if I said I didn’t think she could have accepted more responsibility for the state of our relationship at the end.

My aunt was in a position where my uncle was out of his mind, putting her and my cousins in danger.  It can be easy to criticize how she responded, but there can be any number of factors involved.  Should she have left him?  Easily to say “yes”, but if you were in that position with your significant other, would you?

Which brings me back to what’s gotten this back to bouncing around my head: Hillary Clinton.  Now the idea she hasn’t shown enough “control” over Bill is a… it’s a tricky idea.  I’m not going to get into an exploration of the Clintons’ marriage, plenty has been written about that already.  But the question I come to is, how much control does one really expect in a relationship?  As I said, everybody is wired differently and Bill Clinton has a very strong personality.  How much control could one really exert over him?  And how much should a relationship be about control?

Balance.  The idea of balance is key to a lot of things.  I think one of the biggest faults in my own relationships has been a lack of balance.  I think a basis in control is dangerous and the idea that Hillary’s lack of “control” of her husband being a fault is also dangerous.  However, what I wonder about now is: where is that balance of responsibility?  Does a wife really have a responsibility to control her husband?  Everybody is different, so it will vary from person to person.  As a result, judging all relationships by the same standards is bit of a trap.  The dynamic at work with the Clintons probably is abrasive to the majority to the population and questionable, but be cautious when you judge it.  I’m sure a lot people think she should have left her husband, but how much does their dynamic really matter?

So how do we judge relationships?  Good, bad, in-between?  What criteria do we use?  Where are those lines of responsibility drawn?  I would imagine it varies from person to person and judging them by the same standard can be misleading.  I suppose if people have found that balance, that is the key to the matter.

Getting a bit more serious than normal.  There’s been a lot of serious stuff going on that I feel I have to touch on.

  • Been writing about food and eating a lot lately.  Feel like I should stop doing that.  Or stuff my face with some food so I shut up about food.  Either way works, I suppose.  Somewhat related note, I’ve developed a fascination with the word “correlation.”  I thought it might be hilarious to name a child Cora or Corie and say it is short for that.  True said child could hate me forever, but it might be worth it.
  • Trying to get rolling with some drawing again.  Same story as ever really: too exhausted, too sick.  Getting pretty tired of how inconsistent my focus and condition is.  One of the mental effects of my bad choices.  Got a few projects I want to get done though.  One more important than the others.  Just need to get the momentum to do it though.  Working on various writing projects as well.
  • Speaking of drawings, I was looking at some older stuff on dA the other day and I saw that my drawings of my cat’s little brother I did as tests for a potential comic based off of him have been getting a few more looks the last week or two.  Just seems kinda weird how that type of thing works on dA.  I mean, something I did months ago getting more looks now?  Just amuses me mostly.  Planning to get rolling with that comic soon too.
  • So there’s an idea that’s been put forth multiple times that annoys me a bit.  I heard that one of my ex’s relatives was having some health troubles again.  Been an ongoing thing for awhile now.  Some people have suggested the idea that the break-up was somehow a higher power or force protecting me.  From what, I do not know.  Maybe dealing directly with that?  I call bullshit.  One, this guy has four of the best reasons to get better so I really do not worry about him that much.  Two, these people were family to me.  That doesn’t really change and no longer being with my ex isn’t really going to negate any of the feelings I will experience in any event.  Three, there’s a gym motivation thing I saw a few weeks ago that goes: “We grow a lot like our muscles do.  When pushed to our limits and tore open we recover and stronger than we were before.”  Over the last year and a half I have gone beyond my limits and am stronger as a result–and not just because I spend so much time at the gym.  Stronger and better all around.  Better able to handle whatever happens.
  • At work, a couple of guys put their notice in.  They had been there about three or four months a piece, neither much over twenty-one if that.  Did a bunch of farming here and there before that.  One is leaving because he wants to be working outside–and probably doesn’t like working nights.  The other… I heard a couple of different stories.  One that he didn’t get some time off he wanted–bit skeptical there, because these days all you have to do is fill out a request form and you basically get that time off automatically–and the other being that he wanted to move on to another job within the plant or get on different hours or whatever.*  Looks like they couldn’t make it through two weeks. Mostly I’m just rolling my eyes.  Given their age, I get the feeling they are not done being whiny teenagers.  Millennial type thing, I guess. That can hold over well into your twenties, as experience has told me.  They strike me as the type whose girlfriends are as much surrogate mothers as anything.  Admittedly I’m not overly fond of working there either, but it is what you make of it and I’m trying to create a better situation–surprising how hard that fight has been.  The place does pay better and has better benefits than most others in the area.  If they were not going to even seriously try to make something of it with a little effort and patience, why bother applying in the first place?  It is a situation that could be handled better on their part and on the part of management.

 

*Quick add-on.  Heard a story that this guy tried to put in his notice on Saturday night, but the Supervisor on duty that night told him to talk to the production manager.  Or at least that’s what I’m assuming happened.  The story I heard was that the supervisor told he couldn’t do that, but it makes more sense all-around that he would have to go to the production manager or HR on Monday.

*Apparently there is a bit more to that tale.  I guess the Supervisor in question did not handle things quite so well.

Usual going back to work after my days off scenario–can’t sleep worth shit, so not really that much different than the work week–so I’m going to post tomorrow’s entry early.  It is actually Wednesday somewhere on the planet, so technically it isn’t that early.

  • Deadpool was awesome.  Here’s my review.  Picked up Lucy and Man of Steel while I was waiting around Williston.  Wanted to see Lucy when it was out in cinemas, but never did get around to it for a variety of reasons.  Planning to watch those in the next day or two.
  • Getting the scripts for the first volume of Order of the Dragon wrapped up.  Never mind that I discard half my script by the time I get the first five pages done anyway.  But it will help to develop a real synopsis.  Here’s the synopsis: “The Order of the Dragon has existed for centuries, evolving their mission to include operations as security contractors.  When the leader of the Order is killed–minor spoiler, but I’m like five pages away from it happening anyway–their vampire operative is sent to protect and serve her granddaughter.  As a conspiracy emerges, Nosferatu and other parties begin their descent into world shattering events.”  Liking that so far.  Still working on pages, intending to post some more in the  near future.
  • Hopefully I have a number of plans coming to fruition in the near future.  I think I’m very close to resolving a number of issues that have prevented me from truly being connected to the rest of the world–be a functional element of the world really–and taking the steps I need with the comics and writing.  Guess I will find out this week.  On a related note, had some really good workouts the last week or two.  Getting back where I was after being sick–lost a few pounds, was down under 150 again.  Crawling back up though.
  • Been thinking a bit more about why I support Bernie Sanders.  I know his plans are unrealistic bordering on fantasy at first glance, but I don’t expect most of that.  I like that he intends to go after the banks and the pharmaceutical companies.  Accomplishing anything in either of those endeavors would go a long way.  As for his proposals, I think people need to remember this: he’s been in Congress for a long time and I think he has more willingness to work with both sides than you would think.  That’s how it is supposed to work.  People work together.  Admittedly this was where Obama struggled, but I honestly think Congress could have some more changes than we might expect come November.  As popular as it is to blame Obama, I do think people realize there’s a lot of obstructionist thought in Congress.
  • The Apple thing is a bit troubling to me.  Having recently declared privacy to be a myth, I do find this to be relevant timing on a topical subject.  My first point would be to point out that there is no guarantee of anything useful on said iPhone.  Seems like all that would do is point to people we already know about or burner phones that would provide no real information.  They’ve already accessed Cloud backups and the like, and they supposedly could have done it without involving Apple but managed to reset it or something–not 100% sure what happened there, but I have heard that.  That being said, I think Apple is doing the right thing.  As much as I believe that privacy isn’t something you can rely as a guarantee, it should be clear that there has to be a line not to cross.  It opens a door I don’t believe we should be opening.  We’ve already open too many of those doors.
  • Picked up a copy of the Koran–I think the language is a tricky one to translate, so I think the other spellings are legit as well.  Mostly because I want to understand Islam better.  I feel it would be wiser to study it so I can more accurately wrap my head around the mindsets of the various world issues involved.
  • Those last two bring me to the central point that’s been bouncing around my head the last few days.  People.  I can remember who exactly put forth this concept, but I like to believe people are inherently good and capable of doing great things.  Unfortunately, human nature has given us a tendency to fall in love with bad ideas.  I think it was Antonin Scalia that stated,“I attack ideas. I don’t attack people. And some very good people have some very bad ideas. And if you can’t separate the two, you gotta get another day job.”  I might have disagreed with his opinions, but he had a point.  Perfectly fine people have a bad habit of falling in love with bad ideas.  I freely admit to being guilty of that.  While people can be stubborn as hell, I like to believe there’s no such thing as a truly burned bridge or irreconcilable differences.  Admittedly I’ve burned some bridges pretty thoroughly, but I like to believe there’s always some potential for those to be rebuilt–unlikely, but I like the potential.  People always have new ideas.  Good or bad, ideas change things.  Change people.  And who knows how those new ideas might fit their wants and needs going forward.
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