Archive for February, 2012

Do Not Think

Posted by on Saturday, 25 February, 2012

In a previous post, I set out to list all the reasons that I do not date. By the time I was finished, I had almost talked myself out of it. That is counter-productive. I am so reluctant to make decisions at all,  to question the convictions that I already have simply will not do.

I also went through the archives looking for something. Reading through old post is always depressing. I sometimes dissociate, and think, “This poor guy has been in such pain for so long… I wish that there was something that I could do.” Then I come back and realize that that guy is me, and there is nothing anyone can do. I realized that, I do not think that this was a conscious thought necessarily, but in the past I was hoping that someone would read my blog and understand my struggles and show me what I was missing. Because I was definitely missing something.

Since last summer, I have written a post per week, whether I had anything interesting to say or not. Usually not. I was telling someone recently that I thought the discipline of doing it every week was more valuable than anything I actually had to say. Although, after reading through the older posts, I wonder if the silly stuff I write about now might actually be an improvement.

In the past, I never wanted to talk about my blog in person. I do not remember why, or if I even had a reason. Now I find myself mentioning frequently in conversation, and I feel foolish every time. In the mid ’00s, everyone had a blog and nobody cared. Now we are well into the ’10s and people care even less. In fact, there is a certain comedy website whose articles lately keep slapping me in the face. Talking about your blog is pathetic. Talking about your book that you are never actually going to write is pathetic. Talking about your dream journal is pathetic.

It is almost enough to make me want to throw in the towel. But I am committed to one post a week, and again, it is not wise to rethink that.

Playing Games

Posted by on Friday, 17 February, 2012

When I was young I frequently played games with a cousin who won at pretty much everything. It was very frustrating. The only game I could even sometimes win was “Sorry!”, presumably because there is a high element of chance involved.

As an adult, I found others who like games. It started casually, but as the group evolved and gravitated more toward heavy strategy games, there was one person who would win every time. Again I was frustrated. Eventually, he moved away, and while I would not say that I was happy to see a friend go… there was a shameful part of me that was relieved.

However, in his absence, I started to notice something. I win a lot. Certainly not every time, but I probably do win more often than not. I worry that others are developing the same frustration toward me that I used to feel.

Last weekend, some friends organized a tournament for a certain strategy card game. Along with a few people that I often see at game nights, there were a few people that I had not seen for several years and several that I had never met before. It made me think seriously about the person that I was, the person that I am, and the person that I really ought to have been by this point in life. It has been on my mind lately anyway, but it was really intensified in that environment.

There was also someone there who surprised me by quickly discerning that I was not a trustworthy person. That was painful, because it is an issue with which I struggle. At one point, she accused me of “playing games”, which I defended with, “It’s a game tournament. We’re ALL playing a game!” But she had stated that I was playing plural games. Of course I was.

Let me show you how easy it is to be deceitful. As I mentioned, there were a lot of people at this event who did not necessarily know each other. I was invited, because I am friends with one of the organizers. When asked how I know him, I reply that we were in a Bible study together. Simple question, simple answer, and it is 100% true. The problem is that person now knows basically one thing about me, and that one thing implies that I am a committed Christian; which I am not. Of course I could have answered, “Bible Study… but whoa now, JUST SO WE’RE CLEAR: I do not do or believe any of that stuff anymore.” I do not see that happening. Aside from being none of their business, it seems unnecessarily antagonistic in a room filled mostly, if not entirely, with Christians.

Then later, if someone wants to talk about christiany things… I was active in the church for a long time, and I even worked in ministry for about a year and a half. I have opinions on christiany things. Again it would be nice if I would preface my comments with, “I don’t actually believe the Bible, but if I did…” I do not lie out of malice. I say a lot of things that are not true as a joke, which people might not always realize. But I also say misleading things just to fit in. I am not proud of that. I spent so many years role-playing christian that even now I slip right back into it without even thinking.

I won the tournament by the way. I gave away the prize and I went home thoroughly disgusted with myself on multiple levels.


Posted by on Monday, 13 February, 2012

Last summer, I had the opportunity to meet the fiancée of one of my ex-girlfriends. I expect that such situations are weird for everybody. It actually was not that awkward; at least, no more awkward than when I meet anyone else for the first time. My relationship with that ex was a long time ago, and our lives have gone in *very* different directions since then, so it is not as though I was harboring a secret desire that we might get back together some day. (Which I realize is probably something that people say whether it is true or not, so you will just have to take my word for it.)

However, what was disappointing is that, perhaps uniquely among my close friends, not only am I single, but none of my ex-girlfriends are married either. So until now, I could always fall back on the comforting, “It’s not me, it’s THEM.” So, just to be clear, it is your position that the fact that you are only attracted to independent women who do not want to be tied down is in no way your fault? Oh. Well, when you put it that way…

Besides, whatever happened in the past, it “is me” now, because I do not date. At one point, I realized that the amount of time that had passed since my last relationship exceeded the total length of all of my relationships combined. And it has been another two years since that realization. My father was widowed and remarried in less time.

I also can not help but notice that several of my friends are not having much more success than I am on the serious relationship front, and I take comfort that I at least have spent very little thought, and no effort whatsoever for the same result. Although, it occasionally comes out that someone actually has been dating, but just never felt the need to tell me.

I have a stack of reasons for why I do not date that I might give depending on my mood and to whom I may be speaking. I once tried to change my relationship status on FB to ” ‘It’s complicated’ with ‘Vow of Celibacy’.” However, since “Vow of Celibacy” was not on my friend list, it only showed up on my profile as “It’s complicated”, which I think has completely the opposite connotation from what I intended.

I never actually made a formal vow of celibacy, of course. However, in honor of Valentine’s Day, I thought I would list my reasons for not dating. In no particular order:

  • As I have stated previously, it became clear to me that my desire for a romantic relationship was hindering my search for God. Yet my desire for a romantic relationship was the very reason for my search for God. Unable to resolve this paradox, I essentially gave up the pursuit of either.
  • I am particularly against casual dating, because I still believe in courtship. That is, dating specifically with the intention of marriage. The concept was my introduction to Christianity. I sometimes think it foolish that I should continue to hold on to that when I have largely abandoned all other religious convictions, but it is LIFO I guess.
  • If I were a convinced Christian, I would obviously want to be with a Christian woman. Whereas if I were an atheist, I would prefer someone with similar views. However, being stuck in limbo for as long as I have makes such a choice impossible. To be honest, I rather prefer someone with Christian values, which seems especially unfair if I do not actually have them myself.
  • I tend to be attracted to someone unattainable. She might be way out of my league, or simply not interested. Or, though it may come as a surprise that I actually have a moral code, there are circumstances where the context in which I know someone means that pursuing a romantic relationship is simply out of the question.
  • It has been many years since I have even met anyone that I was seriously interested in pursuing. Now, I am obviously not some kind of Zen master. I certainly encounter intriguing females now and then. But after this many years, I have become rather adept at telling myself, “Is there any chance that you going to ask her out, talk to her, or really even think about her ever again? No? Move along then.”
  • I can not help but think that if a woman gets to be my age and still is not married, there is probably a good reason for that. Of course, someone could say the same about me. They would be absolutely correct.
  • I honestly do not feel that I have a lot to offer an eligible lady. I do not currently have any female friends who talk to me about relationship matters, but if I hypothetically did, and she told me about some new guy she was interested in and described someone with my lifestyle and habits? I would advice her to run for the hills. Or if I tried to do an online dating profile what would I say? “College degree that I don’t use. No real job. Live alone in a house owned by my father. Enjoys not leaving the house and never doing anything productive.” I can’t imagine that I would want to be with someone who had such low standards. I have a lot of issues that I need to work out before I could be in anything resembling a healthy relationship. The catch is, without anyone special in my life, I do not have any pressing need to work through those issues.

I have probably forgotten something. In any case, I would probably throw out every one of those reasons for a girl with the right smile, but that smile is just so very hard to come by.

What Would Happen If?

Posted by on Friday, 3 February, 2012

In my previous post, I tangentially mentioned that I sometimes think of story ideas, but never write them down. It occurred to me afterward that someone out there (and you know who you are) might insist that I should write and make available these stories. This is actually a minor subset of “projects that I could be working on, but I’m not”, which is a much greater issue. But since I already brought it up, I will discuss this specifically

The thing is, I do not usually come up with STORIES, I come up with story IDEAS. I have think of premises for stories, not the story itself. A premise asks a question: “What would happen if…?” The story is the answer: It tells what would happen.

For example, many years ago I had an idea for a story called Holiday Ten. The idea was this: There are ten* federal holidays in the United States. Yet take, for example, Columbus Day. I realize that some people do take all the holidays seriously, and that around that particular holiday, certain types of people want to argue over whether Columbus really should be honored. Yet aside from that, and perhaps store promotions and such, I expect that most people do not give more than a passing thought to Christopher Columbus. They just take their three day weekend. In the UK, they actually have what are called Bank Holidays. It is just a day where the banks are closed and most people have the day off. Not in honor of anything, just because.

So imagine that a hundred years or so in the future, no one cares what anymore about what ANY of the holidays were intended to celebrate, they just welcome the extra day off. Having lost all original meaning, the holidays are simply referred to by number.

I further noted that, rather than our current calender, the 365 day year could be divided into 13 months of 28 days (4 weeks) with one day left over. That day would not belong to any month and would mark the start of a new year. Holiday One, if you will. Though I came up with this entirely on my own, I recognize that it is basically a lunar calendar, but I never bothered to research how it compares to the lunar calendars that other cultures have used for millennia. I also did not have a specific plan for leap years.

In any case, as indicated, my story would take place on Holiday Ten, previously known as Christmas. And when I say “take place”… I am pretty much out. What takes place? I have no idea. No plot, no characters, nothing. I actually came up with the idea several years before I ever started going to church, so it is not as though I even intended it to be preachy about the “true meaning of Christmas” or anything like that, although it is hard to imagine where else one might go with it.

So if any aspiring authors out there want to run with that, be my guest. Let me know what you come up with, and if you happen to write a multinational bestseller, please mention my blog on your book tour.


I did get a little bit further than that on this more recent story that I mentioned last week. I had an idea that I found intriguing. It felt like it would work best as a movie or graphic novel. Perhaps as webcomic since I enjoy those so much. I would like to do webcomic** sometime, however, I have had several ideas in that vein already, and if I ever did decide to formally begin one, this particular story would not be first in line. No, the best thing for this would be to just write it out, post it online somewhere and move on.

So I had this idea, but needed some characters and plot. I came up with a murder mystery sort of thing. But after several days thinking about it and getting the story all worked out in my head, I realized that I what I had was basically a murder mystery with a gimmick. As a consumer of entertainment, I absolutely hate it when I see something that wastes a good premise on a mediocre story. I certainly did not want to be guilty of that myself. Especially since the more I thought about it, the more I realized there was a certain richness and depth to my original idea and I kept asking myself, are you going to explore THIS aspect? And the answer kept being, “Not really.” I wanted to include little hints to some of these things for the audience to think about and discuss, although I find it hard to believe that people are going to set up a forum to discuss my work.

Another problem is that there is a certain supernatural element for which I really need to work out the rules. Not so much explain how it might scientifically possible, because it obviously is not. Rather, if we simply accept that this does happen, under what circumstances does it occur? Who can do it? Whom does it effect? I was not being consistent about these things. Of course, one can always just say, “Ha ha, magic!” but that is sloppy.

So after an overall evaluation, I realized that with the red herrings, hints to things outside the scope of the story, intentional ambiguities, and straight-up plot holes, I had quite a mess on my hands. Off to the back burner with that.



*It turns out that there are actually eleven federal holidays. I did not realize that Inauguration Day is an actual holiday as it only happens once every four years, and even then it is only observed in Washington D.C. and surrounding areas. Ignore that one.

**The lack of any drawing ability is not as much of a hindrance to webcomic authorship as you might think. While many do have quite excellent artwork, in the case of two of my favorites, one is draw with stick figures and the other has identical artwork every day – literally the only thing that changes is the dialog. Other options for the non-artist include: photos (either taken yourself or found online), Lego or other posed toys, crude MSPaint drawings, 3D computer graphics, and if all else fails, partner with someone who CAN draw.