Dating Fiasco

The roommate of a friend of mine has been single for a few months, and has been trying to date. He’s been using dating aps and isn’t having much luck. In fact, the dates he’s been on have been downright hilarious. Full spectrum idiocracy, and he’s only half to blame.
I think his biggest problem is that he doesn’t know what exactly he’s looking for in a woman.  It’s like going into a car dealership without any idea of what you’re interested in, and then trying to test drive every car on the lot.
He’s shallow with his profile viewing, yet didn’t present himself favorably on his own. The dates he manages to go on have been horrible. Poorly planned, inconvenient, and conversationally dishonest.
It’s hard to watch a train wreck, but it’s hard to look away too.  I’ve been enjoying the entertainment value of  his dating fiascos.
He met a woman on the other side of the country while traveling for work, and somehow manages to invite her to come visit him, upon her arrival he decides he doesn’t like her after all, and proceeds to be a wet-blanket for the duration of her visit.
He met a woman who was hostile and drunk for the duration of their date at a night club, and yet he somehow asks her out for a second date.
He met a woman who is chronically unavailable to meet in real life because of a busy schedule. and another woman who was clearly trying to scam him into visiting her pay-to-view sex cam site.
He’s not a bad guy; tall, thin, average bro, car-guy personality, steak & potatoes diet, t-shirt, macho pride, and weak sense of housekeeping. And he lucked out hard with his college sweetheart ex, but Still Thinks that he might find another woman who’s that spectacular, so he’s totally unwilling to lower his standards, or make self-improvements to himself.
He’s given up dating in these past few weeks, and thrown his energy into videogames and snowboarding videos. Which means that I’ve temporarily lost an entertainment source, and can only speculate that dating in the digital age is much more difficult than previously anticipated.

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Modern Courtships

If money is power, then how can anyone pretend that a marriage is an equal partnership? Clearly one of them has financial power over the other. If I made considerably more money than my spouse, then there’s an expectation for them to prioritize what they are able to bring to the table, which frequently is ‘time and energy for home maintenance’. If finances are a cornerstone for all marriage decisions, then the breadwinner is the decision-maker.  How are people still justifying marriage, knowing that it’s frequently a servitude agreement.
–  These days, women have equality, and are permitted to pursue powerful positions, but will often have to work a second-shift, and do domestic work at home, because husbands have traditionally never been expected to. The aggravation  of knowing that a woman is expected to do both: a career and a household,  divides her time between the two,  making her less effective in both, and less satisfied with the marriage.

That’s not to say that marriage can’t be equal, it can,  but in order for a marriage to actually be ‘equal’, both people have to bring assets to the table. Hundreds of years ago, this meant a dowry or some other type of inheritance, ensuring that one wouldn’t be a burden to the other. Of course prostitution was widely legal [and accepted] right up until 1910-1915, so it was okay if the marriage was loveless. If both people brought an asset to the table, then it’s easier to see how an alliance makes them stronger. If one was a butcher and the other a baker, then together they are able to expand and become a bistro. They’ve both gained something from the union.
–  But the modern American capitalism culture makes it difficult for individual people to acquire economic resource assets. The bakers and butchers of the world all work for larger companies now, so the only thing they have is a job.   A momentary occupation is expected to provide a basic level of financial stability, and little else. So modern courtships often rely on the individuals personal actions to justify matchmaking.
This is why fanatical ideals about Love have become so popular in our culture. We aren’t negotiating/leveraging our family’s assets, we’re only thinking about personal desires.
So what can a person do if they’re seeking  to impress a potential mate? Beyond the usual: employment, shelter, transportation, and availability;  What would make a person more valuable in a marriage negotiation?
Majority of the population has enough disposable income to have a few luxury items, but not mansions. What ‘stuff’  I accrue to make myself more impressive? What ‘things’ am I able to collect in order to earn favor with a potential mate?
And even if we find each other impressive, what reasons do we have to get married at all?

Everlasting Onions

You can plant the bottom [root end] of an onion, and it’ll grown into another onion. You can have unlimited onions.
This year, my summer project was a vegetable garden. I planted until I ran out of space. Pumpkins, watermelons, zucchinis, onions, beans, cucumbers, kobocha, peppers, tomatoes, squash, herbs, ect.
Most of the time, it’s a waiting game. Plant, water, wait, ripen, harvest.
With fruit, they all ripen in the same month, but the onions have ripened in waves. I’m pretty impressed with them. Somehow I’ve managed to pick 1 onion every week for the past several months.
The right time to harvest an onion is after the leaves have completely dried up. It takes months, but once you eat the onion, you can plant the bottom end and it’ll grown into another onion. It’s everlasting onions.
I have a collection of empty garden pots on the windowsill, and every time I dice up an onion I place its roots back in the dirt. After a month, it’ll grow back a leaf.
It’s a fulfilling practice.

Onions

gardening onions

Fresh food, home-grown, sustainable gardening.

Escape into the Entertainment Sphere

It’s 2017, and I’m really disappointed with the condition of the American culture.
I’ve been saying for years that Technology has changed how people function, and how people think about the world. It seems like the novelty of digital socialization has slowly taken over our lives. Ever since the invention of the smart phone [10years ago], it has somehow become more ‘real’ to us than our day to day lives.
I read an article about how the younger generations are gravitating toward fantasy-based hobbies because they’re all dissatisfied with how the real world has turned out. This Generational Disillusionment has driven us into the welcoming arms of fictional entertainment.
This past week the media has focused on a new generation of white supremacy Nazis, emerging and spouting hatred toward all other Americans. We’re not looking at foreign invaders, not strangers in a distant land, it’s our neighbors that stand to harm us. A 20-yr old white nationalist drove a car into a crowd of people. Killing people, like a terrorist.

What’s going on with our culture?
Ever since the election of Trump, Politics has become a laughable occupation. We aren’t even trying to improve the country, politicians are simply manipulating the system for personal gain, without regulation.
The rich getting richer, the poor getting poorer. Power does that.
My hair is falling out in quantities that suggest that I’m stressed. And I’m not the only one. Studies have shown a marked increase in societal stress these past few years. People are experiencing ‘hopelessness’ as if we were a country being devastated by war. This hopelessness coaxes the youth to abandon reality and dive deeper into fantasy.
Technology makes the world a lot smaller. It makes more things possible.
There’s a genuine possibility of real-life getting worse, and America losing a whole generation into the entertainment-sphere.

Adulting: 40 yr plan

One of the things that ‘adulting’ includes [beyond the usual: car maintenance, bills, taxes, groceries, furniture], is long term planning. It’s a scary thought to a young person, even saying it out loud sounds disingenuous; ‘Long Term’. I am not a fan of long term anything, and the longer I think about how Long I am going to be working, the more panicked I get.
But in order to be a proper adult, we have to budget and save for specific possibilities in the future. A 401k is a retirement fund that you pay into, in conjunction with your employer.  You put in 4% of your income, and your employer matches with another 4%.  The money goes into an investment account that plays with your money, hopefully yielding higher interest than a bank savings account would. Of course, we aren’t allowed to spend the money until we turn 65-yrs old. It’s like Social Security in the way that it’s meant to take care of you after you retire. People use it because it’s pre-taxable income. The more you put away, the less taxes you pay that year.

Bills are inevitable. But it’s important to keep on budgeting, even the Little things, which really do start to pile up. Phones, parking passes, tolls, website memberships, security fees, various services. And on top of all the immediate costs, there’s long term possible costs to plan for; healthcare, children, mortgage, accidents.
No one knows what will happen in the future.  A 40 year career is an antiquated concept. I may die long before I get to utilize my 401k.
& Like everyone else, I have concerns about the future of our culture. Technology changes so fast that every aspect of the world will be different by the time our children are adults. But Poverty has always been a huge problem. In America, it’s something like 25% of the workforce. The costs of living goes up, salaries/wages lag behind, and people can’t afford their daily expenses, let alone plan for future expenses. They fall into the ‘debt trap’ and heavily depend on credit cards. So budget and save for the future.
There’s no telling what industries will prosper or collapse in our lifetimes.  So we need to diversify our investments. We don’t know if the overall ‘standard of living’ will improve or diminish, So we have to save for the possibility of scarcity.
Leave this world a better place than when we found it. Protect the environment, eat real food, budget and plan for the future.

Hazards of Social Conformity

Humans have been doing things that cause our own demises for centuries. Most of the time it’s for social conformity. Peer pressure. Ideas of normality. Current fashion. Often it involves self-mutilation;  binding our feet, stretching our ears, wearing hats made with poisonous mercury, or face powders containing lead. All these things were normal at one point in history, and horrible for our health.    Yet we’re currently not any better.     We’re still doing things that are horrible for us, but are socially considered ‘normal’.     We consume high fructose corn syrup, fatty oils,  alcohol, tobacco. We give ourselves diseases by participating in these popular trends: heart disease, liver disease, diabetes, cancer.     We are continually  pressured to eat ‘normal’ food, wear ‘normal’ clothing, live in ‘normal’ domiciles, and participate in ‘normal’ social occasions. Simply because these things are culturally popular right now.
Current trends continue to be popular regardless of their hazards. Phones are popular, even though they cause a lot of accidents. Fatty food are popular, even though heart disease is the # 1 killer of Americans. Everyone owns a car, even though 40,000+ people died in traffic accidents in 2016. We can’t seem to stop participating because they’ve become embedded into our culture.

Certain popular things change how we interact with each other.  The youth generation is heavily invested with online social media, as a means of sharing every event in their lives. Last month, a woman accidentally shot and killed her friend  as part of a video challenge, to see if an encyclopedia would stop a bullet.  People have always desired having a community  and a sense of belonging, and in the digital era, that community is online. These people were drawn to participate in these risky activities because that’s what their community exists around. There’s a 50day challenge game in Russia  that has caused 130+ deaths. Every day it sends out a task, and the last challenge instructs the participants to kill themselves.  At the moment in history, it is also  normal to live stream videos of all events, including tragedies. Last week,  a group a teenagers were on trial for videotaping a man drowning, instead of helping him. This week, an 18-yr old live posts a video immediately following a car crash that killed her 14-yr old sister, instead of helping.
What this means is that individuals would rather share an existing event, than try to effect change in the world around them. Our social culture  is so obsessed with our digital footprint, that our online life means more to us than our real life.

 

Barclay

I recently watched all 7 seasons of Star Trek Next Gen, and there was a side character that really stuck with me. It was a weirdo engineer with an anxiety disorder. In the first episode with him, no one on the ship liked working with him, and their observable dislike only caused him to be more nervous and awkward with his coworkers. His therapeutic outlet was to have fantasy experiences with the hologram recreations of his crewmates. So the more stress he was under, the more he secluded himself into the fantasy world.

I was fascinated with this particular character because up until him, everyone seemed unusually competent and skilled. He was the only one that had a off-putting behavioral oddity. I found him relatable, because I am also not sociable, and in many ways I do the exact same thing with my hobbies.
Having something ‘small and pleasant’ to say always creates the illusion of friendliness, but it’s very much an illusion, because real socializing often triggers my already short fuse.  It’s not to say that I am incapable of patience and compassion, I am, it’s just that I don’t usually practice those emotions in group social performances. I’m basically a Klingon in that way. I don’t take kindly to being jerked around, and I’m not really interested in coddling a strangers outlandish wishes for the sake of ‘being nice’.

A few episodes later, the show revisits the same awkward character.  He’s made some strides with his anxiety, and starts to blend in a bit, but then he gets zapped by an alien probe and ‘becomes’ the computer’s brain. He enjoys the power-trip, but by the end of the episode, he’s back to being average. Episodes with him start to feel stressful, as the audience starts to identify with his point of view.
After that, he stars in another episode about seeing something mysterious  inside the transporter beam. That episode was emotionally draining, because everyone tried to convince him that he was mistaken, and that there was just no way he saw anything [when of course he Did].    A few episodes after that, he helps out with an sentient hologram character that wants to leave the ship. Which was the first episode that utilizes him in a capacity that doesn’t make him seem completely crazy.    It was nice to see him reach his full potential, like maybe there’s hope for all of us weirdos after all.
And in one last episode, this character is the accidental cause of a mutation outbreak on board that causes everyone to devolve.
Although the episode didn’t focus on him, it does briefly circle back to his anxiety as a source of social discomfort between him and the rest of the crew. Drawing attention to the fact that he still has problems, and his time in Star Fleet didn’t resolve them. Which goes to show that in a world where all physiological and safety needs are met, some people are still anxious.

 

Having an Off Day

Every so often I seem to blank out.  My rhythm gets off, and I just can’t seem to get through it without stumbling. I’ll literally forget everything that I was in process of doing, and just freeze up. On a micro scale, it’s not so bad. But I wouldn’t trust myself to plan for the future, because I’m too anxious to live in the present.

I wonder if people living during the Great Depression knew that it would eventually end, OR if every single person lived their lives thinking that things will never get better. Like many other millennials, I’ve started exhibiting stress disorder symptoms. Apparently, there are several different types of anxiety, and I’ve recently learned that most of them plague this generation.

Stemming from general hopelessness, I find myself believing that the country has moved backwards from the American dream. Making the everyday things that used to be normal into somewhat of a luxury. My parents could afford to buy their own house before the age of 30, get married, and have a family. But no one my age can afford a family; we can’t afford houses, we’re burdened with college debts, and we’re panicky about the future. Older folks have started heckling me about marriage and family, but the harsh reality is that the world has changed, and people my age will not have conventional lives.

I worry that while this generation is busy trying to survive, the older generation is busy destroying the planet, along with all hope that my generation will live to old age. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs would say that the Millennials will never reach the esteem and actualization levels, because we’re still struggling to satisfy our more basic deficiency needs: psychological, safety,  and love. We can’t think about the future when we’re anxious in the present. Our physical safety is at stake because of the current financial situations and  the social and economic crisis.

Scale of Servitude

Scale of servitude is an idea concept I’ve been talking about a lot lately. It used to refer to  slavery, but now it’s the chain of social command in non-professional groups.

How do you decide who’s in charge and allowed to give orders in a social situation? In matriarchal cultures, everyone is socially less important than eldest woman of the family, and should concede to them. In patriarchal cultures, it’s the eldest man of the family. In my family, I may be head of my own household, but I am still  socially subservient  to my parents, and we are all subservient to the grandparents. With my parents still active in the social community, there’s very little I can do that will allow me to outrank my parents. However, they may retire from the social group, or I can gather assets to improve my group ranking.

Yet, some individualistic social cultures topple the chain of command entirely by leveraging ‘acquired social assets’ to get highly inflated rankings. The group allows for these other factors [things that the social group values] to decide who is in command; assets like: wealth, popularity, experience, charisma, strength.  The tiers of the ‘scale of servitude’ decide who’s above and below you in the group, so a person’s ranking changes as the group members change. It’s ‘political’ in the sense that a person can never really ascend beyond what the collective social group decides someone is worth.
– The leader of something small is above their group, but is still lower than a leader of a larger group [who has greater assets and therefore higher ranking]. Many people are able to experience being a ‘big fish in a small pond’ when they lead a small group.

The value we assign each other in modern social cultures isn’t based on familial-piety, or any other sort of ancestral reverence, it’s based on money and/or power. And we all know that power corrupts. The thing about the social ladder, is that once you start climbing, you’re compelled to continue. The scale of servitude implies that there’s always someone above you, more ground to cover, more assets to acquire. So people become obsessed with  it.
Even when wealth isn’t an option the ranks exist. Think of the show The Walking Dead. Rick became the leader when he arrived at his small group, and then several seasons later he’s a servant of the Saviors. The group changed, the scale increased. We find that there’s someone above them in the ranks; Someone with more power, more assets, and the means of using them to impose their commands onto you.
This is how our culture interacts.

 

Budgeting and Scheduling

Being a proficient adult means being good at budgeting and scheduling. That’s basically it. No one is asking you to be a great scholar; just budget your time & money, and get your errands done.

The most frustrating human I ever had the displeasure of personally knowing, was a bachelor who couldn’t ever find the time to cook or clean. His home was always filthy, and his fridge was always empty. He was financially successful, yet still an incompetent adult, because he couldn’t get his errands done.
I think the American youth is doomed from the get-go because our culture places too much emphasis on advanced-skills, and not enough on life-skills. Our child obesity rates are one of the highest in the world, because we don’t know how to take care of ourselves, and by extension, we aren’t properly feeding or caring for our children. The youngsters didn’t learn how to cook and clean at home or at school; they didn’t learn maintenance, or basic upkeep.  These youths grew up, and became adults who do not  feel responsible for domestic errands; like cleaning, repairing, and caring for things.
With the way things are, it doesn’t matter if we all go to college, because as a generation, we can’t seem to make the time to find balance in our lives [financial, social, personal, health].

Millennials are a generation obsessed with technology and artificiality, we’re also a generation stricken with anxiety and mental disorders.  We are a group of adults with massive debts [college expenses], poor health, and limited life-skills; so life-priorities for us have changed.
Budgeting and scheduling is something we’re not great at. Many of us have no money saved, and are living on credit cards. Even if we become financially successful, it is unlikely that the millennial generation will have the same predictable high-quality of life that our parents enjoyed 40years ago.