2.166. Waiver Wednesday

I had a moment the other day when I recognized that I am starting to enjoy football again. One of the things about being fiercely loyal to and supportive of a bad team is that it is hard to recognize the good in other teams or to feel good about getting behind them for a while. Sports, in that sense, is a relationship, and checking out other teams felt like cheating.

I got over it, eventually. At first I just watched Raiders games, exclaiming that I was watching Beast Mode and not the team itself. In time I grew to recognize the raw idiocy of that idea. That I even felt the need to qualify watching other teams is ridiculous. I have no tether, physical or otherwise, to the New York Giants that precludes me liking other teams. Any boundaries drawn in that sense are entirely social. For whatever reason we are taught that we are to like one team–usually the home team–and this philosophy is socially reinforced at every level of organized sports.

I showed up to my kids’ wrestling match last night accidentally wearing the other teams’ colors. People did not react well. Some of the more serious supporters of the team did actually mention the gear as a joke. I’d worn the colors basically as a personal homage to the days of street corner mafioso jumpsuits.

Some Thoughts:

  1. More info came out on the NFL and ESPN folks suspended due to allegations of sexual misconduct. What I find interesting is that in the sea of women employed and the open ability of these powerful and brave women to make comments, the only comments have been directed towards the executive named in the suit and nothing outside of the singular claim has been said suggesting the behavior of the former players was in any way out of line towards other women. It continues to feel like part truth and part money grab and that is a sad commentary on our society.

2.165. Victim Blaming

This is going to be rough.

I’m afraid we’ve hit that point where someone may have shamelessly adopted the #metoo tag for their own personal gain. Full Disclaimer: I don’t personally know the people involved. I do not know any more about the situation than what the lawsuit alleges. I do know that the entire thing is peculiar to me. What I find odd is that the initial lawsuit was for wrongful firing and once the company decided not to settle, the plaintiff added all the sex stuff and went very public.

Lets start at the beginning.

The NFL network recently suspended multiple on-air personalities as part of the fallout from the amendment to a wrongful termination lawsuit. The amendment alleges that these six men all either sexually harassed or assaulted the plaintiff and that the NFL network knew about it. She doesn’t claim that she was fired as part of a cover up. She does however dispute the claim that she was fired for theft. Now, in this amendment she goes into details about how much these men all tried to force sex with her. Where it starts to go awry for me is right there. There has been no other mention of this particular culture at the NFL network, so it is completely reliant on her being the target–or at least the target willing to speak. That in of itself is not grounds to dismiss her claims. However, when you add to it the similarities between what all these men supposedly did and the fact that this was added to an existing suit once the NFL network refused to settle, there is cause to pump the brakes.

Just like X-files, I want to believe. However, the information here feels suspect. I’m more worried that one false claim will cut the momentum away from what is an important and useful conversation about the way we treat each other as humans.

 

Some Thoughts:

  1. I want to write a story that starts like this: Used to be that Tommy wanted to be the guy that was always around, but people rarely talked about. Now he felt more like the guy everybody talked about but was never around.

2.164. Freewrite

That morning Chance was clicking through the Ars Macabre website, looking for unusual C.o.D’s. He liked to call it occupational research. His wife, Emily, had a much different name and idea about his fascination, but she wasn’t in the medical field. The smell of blood made her wretch, so what did she know?

His fat fingers trembled over the mouse’s twin buttons and then pressed one. The page skipped backwards to a list of titles he’d quickly scanned through. He went through the list slower this time until he found the one that had made him stop.

Man Dies in Shower. Self Inflicted injury.

What kills a man in a shower? He almost asked the question out loud, but caught the words in his throat before they could come out as more than a cough. From the kitchen Emily said, “Need some water, hon?”

“I’m fine, thanks!”

He studied the title again. There were only a finite number of self inflicted causes of death, but few could occur in the shower. It could have been a gunshot, but they probably would’ve led with that. Likewise of a knife wound. Yet here was a man dead in the shower by his own hand. Chance clicked the link.

Slit throat.

Apparently the man had been leaning against or rammed his head against the glass of the shower wall and broke through. His head, more specifically his neck, crashed into a shard of broken glass, ending the mans life.

“You don’t see that everyday.” This time he didn’t catch the words before they escaped, and Emily heard him.

2.163. On Semester’s End

A forgotten portion of my subconscious asked, “How are you doing?”

The only answer I could come up with was, “Not bad?” I said it like a question and the small part of me tittered.  Not bad could mean a number of fascinating things. The truth is less pleasant and always is. The truth is that it is the end of the semester and I have a gargantuan pile of grading to look forward to and absolutely no desire to deal with any of it. The truth has tiny pearl-colored teeth sharpened to fang points and it has terrible breath.

The smaller me asked again, “Seriously, how are you?”

I didn’t have enough time to get my shit together and come up with a thoughtful and nuanced answer. So I just said, “I’m bored, lonely, and unseasonably cold.” That last part felt like the kind of thing a weather reporter would say and it made the smaller me laugh. Me and (me) share thoughts, so there was really no use in dodging the reality of how I was feeling. But (me) is addicted to good humor, and I thought I could distract it for long enough to slam the door closed on my subconscious or at least bury it in pop music and cat videos.

I started thinking about Michelle Wolf, and the Gilmore Girls, and Kiss. Then the alarm went off and ten minutes slid into history.

I breathed a sigh of relief.

2.162. On Parenting

In many ways parenting is a lifestyle choice. There are many forms of that lifestyle that you can adopt, but in the odd ubiquity of suburban sprawl, your kids’ life is what you do. Finding time for your partner is a secondary affair generally relegated to evenings and the occasional date night, as though such things needed to be scheduled like so many work vacations. I fell victim to this long before I was divorced. Everything since then has been a deepening of that lifestyle–a quicksand that, from time to time, I realize is sucking me in deeper.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with living your life for your children. This is a choice many people make. However, it ought to be a conscious decision and not something that arrives by circumstance. I did not directly choose this lifestyle, which is why I find myself repeatedly tearing away from the tethers of traditional fatherhood (if only in my mind). It happens quite suddenly and often as the result of the activities your kids take part in. The more activities, the less of a life you have. In my life I have my kids for four days a week and each day is crammed with practices or games demanding attention and transport. Twice a week I am out of bed at 4:30 AM to get my kids to where they need to be before the sun comes up. This used to feel like a moment in time, but I realize that it is–and has been–my lifestyle for many long years.

The truth path to happiness for me is balance. While I want to offer my kids every opportunity, I refuse to continue to do so without addressing my own needs as well. I am moving towards a balanced state where we all get to have opportunities and we all get to experience what life (and conversely love) can offer.

2.161.

Outside are the sounds of an animal pawing at something. My yard is dark and looking into the neighbors yards brings only shadows and the distant idea of lives lived apart from my curiosity. But the sound is still there like a steadying baseline to remind me that the world is not quite right. Not tonight, or yesterday, or even tomorrow.

The world is shifting on its axis and spinning into the suppositions of doomsday prophecies and empty headed racists who want little more than to grow their bottom line or seek solace in the idea that people who they deem to be like themselves can bolster their bottom line and the ones of difference and permissiveness will be left behind.

We really haven’t drifted too much from the puritanical regime the Brits brought with them once they decided to trample the native tribes and take their land. In the end we have blips–glimpses of what an advanced human culture should look like–but we stray back into the game of capitalism and the idea of winning by making sure that nobody around us gets a leg up or gets more than we have.

Especially if they’re different.

Growls rise from the yard and I can see my cat stalking the high wall between my and the neighbors yard. The growls are not hers. There are two dogs across the brick wall and they are battling each other in half play and half dominance seeking splendor. She’s watching too, apparently drawn by the same sounds that drew me.

The dogs continue to play, the cat moves on, and the universe spins further and further out into emptiness.

2.160: Where Sci Fi is going.

Short answer: I don’t know, exactly.

I can speculate on quite a few paths and I recognize that some of them will clearly come to pass. We’ve seen a surge of eco-sci fi driven by the understanding that our planet is a far more fragile thing than we gave it credit for. Given the recent election I suspect a resurgence of poli-sci fi in which those who have a stake in state affairs are manipulated and manipulate the people into narrowcasted flashes of choice. I see a story of my own one day popping up that talks about hyper-gerrymandering in a way that could be compared to the way we play the stock market and the way we openly gamble on sports teams…

In fact I’m building that story in my head right now. It feels like a comedy but it feels far too real to be funny.

Another area is that of near-earth asteroid mining. Given the appearance of Oumuamua, we can expect at least a small cadre of writers to seize on this and turn it into story of some form. We’ve done great things in the asteroid mining story space, but to add the unusual intergalactic nature to this and perhaps not make it about hostile alien or even alien at all life would be interesting.

Just some brief thoughts on this cold evening. Goodnight, dear readers.

2.159.

Among the many casualties of modern expediency is the idea of process. I myself suffer from the 1st draft phenomena, but I am not here to hone in on the writing process. I believe process in general is being sacrificed for expediency and lack of patience. Fast food, quick hits, highlight reels, etc. We are subjected on a daily basis to the abridgment of the human condition. I think I want to write a story about the dissolution of process for a quickly produced bottom line–3d printed life experiences if you will. Perhaps the protagonist will be a 13 year old girl, who even in the future remains the crown jewel of the American commercial machine.

Some Thoughts:

  1. I believe I need to start pushing forward again as an author. I don’t produce at the level I believe I can, and I do once again believe that I can.
  2. Wanna know the difference between Republicans and Democrats? What they are accountable for. Democrats are accountable for their moral behaviors. Republicans are accountable for what they are able to do to roll back democratic initiatives. That is why Roy Moore will win.
  3. I am learning to be more careful about what I put in the universe. Word on the street is creatives are closer to that vein of creation and as such what is said has a slightly better chance of seeping into reality.

2.158. Net Nuetral

I am often struck at how small minded we are as a nation when it comes to the idea of freedom. We care to be free in all of the symbolic ways we define freedom. Yet when we get into the weeds, we see our freedoms–especially in regards to purchasing power–eroding. Net Neutrality is yet another step towards freedom not actually belonging to the free. The basic concept of NN is that the ISP does not have the right to throttle speeds to any particular site. This bias can manifest in any way. Perhaps the ISP is religious and decides that pornhub.com shouldn’t be allowed to be viewed through their provider. Perhaps they are more capitalist and, as a servant of Disney, decides that Netflix is no longer going to be allowed to be reached at any reasonable speed. In other words, it allows your ISP to determine what you do or don’t see on the internet. In a place where you are limited to one or maybe two providers, you lose control of the messages you see. You lose control of the truth.

This is all part of a larger and growing discordance I’m seeing fall into place around our increasingly digitally dependent society. We are willingly giving away our access to deeper understanding in exchange for a easier to swallow, prepackaged truth that subscribes to our worldview of how things are. Net Neutrality is the antidote to alternative facts, and we are prepared as a society to dilute that antidote almost entirely for profit and ease.

Some Thoughts:

  1. Deeply frustrating days this week. I’m glad to be done with school shortly.

2.157:

I reached that moment in my life where I am truly tired of the madness. I am entirely tired of being single. I am tired of the routine of daily life. I’m tired of getting old and slowing down and losing that physical confidence I used to have. Honestly, I am just flat out tired.

I need to turn that corner. Call it mid-life, rebirth, change of stream, whatever you will. The time is now to change the things in my life that are not working and double down on what I want to keep as a core part of my relationship with the universe.

It is long past time, if I’m being honest.

 

Some Thoughts:

  1. Amazon is offering 2 week early pre-screenings of Jumanji to its prime members. This is a new and interesting development in the wonderful world of marketing. Well played, Amazon. Lets see how it goes.
  2. I need new books and TV shows. I need stuff that is so far removed from my wheelhouse and yet solid that my horizons are instantly broadened.