Being Me

Last week I went speed dating. As usual, no one I liked was interested in me. I was talking to my sister who is trained as a counsellor about it this weekend. Talking helps you think through things.
I try to be a nice person. But nice isn’t a quality that people should be looking for in dating. Being nice should be a given. If nice is your only quality, then you have no qualities. Being interesting and exciting are what people look for. I come off as boring in speed dating.
I am embarrassed about being me, so I am not being myself. The only hobby I feel comfortable talking about to strangers is my ultra distance running. I am probably coming off as a brain-dead jock with no other interests. I am so used to having my hobbies of D&D, comics and science-fiction being looked down upon, that I don’t celebrate that part of myself. And I’m not even getting to the Level 3 part of my life.
And yet, earlier that SAME day I had a job interview. There, I absolutely was myself. I already have a job, so I wasn’t pressured to pretend to be someone I wasn’t. Failure WAS an option. I could give them full frontal Erik. Heck, when it came time for me to ask questions, one of mine was “Kirk or Picard?” If you guys are going to claim to be nerds, be prepared to defend it.
I wanted them to prove themselves to me, more than I wanted to impress them. I wanted to show my personality off accurately.
It worked. I signed the contract today giving me a 25% raise in pay. The only downside is I now have a thirty minute commute to St. Albert, instead of the ten minute commute I have now.
Now I just need to transfer this same attitude when I try talking to women. Unfortunately, while this lesson is fresh in my mind now, I will forget it by the time I next talk to a single woman.

Silence Implies Consent

I think more people need to take responsibility for the teaching of Creationism.
I read an article today about the places that still teach it. It is criminal that this is still being taught as science. Go teach it as religion, and I don’t have a problem. Teach it as fact, and you devalue all of science.
But, I think the blame for this can be spread further to include universities. Now, I don’t think any credible universities are teaching this pseudo-science. But their silence implies consent. Why do they accept students from Tennessee and Louisiana?
For example, how would it look to those states if Harvard suddenly said that they will no longer accept Biology or Medical students from there. Their education is substandard and therefore they cannot be trusted to know the fundamentals.
This is a real world consequence for playing fast and loose with science. There are probably many parents that don’t care that their little angel is being taught Creationism. But how do you think they would react if they found out that their little butterfly is now cut off from being a doctor? Do you think they would continue to elect politicians who are pandering to the religious and the expense of their child’s future.
Wait, don’t answer that.

True, that is just one university. A utopian example. But if any university did it, people would notice. It would make the news, and other universities might join in the boycott.

Layers of Fiction

Thanks to the library, I have learned that I don’t always have to own books to read them. I am amazed at the easiness of reading sometimes. It is easier than watching a film. Watching a film alone.
Let’s discuss the ease of partaking the three chief forms of fictional entertainment.
While watching a movie, there is always the chance I will get uncomfortable and turn it off for awhile. Or get distracted because of some character’s inane personality flaw. It is harder for me to like characters I have just met. It can take me several days to watch a movie.
While watching a television show, that is less likely. There is a non-insignificant chance that I will care about the characters. Time does not need to be wasted getting to like them. If I have seen a few episodes, that is already taken care of. I can share in their triumphs and failures.
Then we get to reading. This can be broken into two parts. Short stories and novels. Despite the episodic nature of the short story collection, it is much more like a film to me. Each story requires me to learn to care about the character. Once I do, there is a good chance that the story will end soon after, and I am forced to start a new story, with new characters. I recently read “We Never Talk About My Brother” by Peter S Beagle. (You may have heard of him.) It was gruelling to get through. Most of the stories were entertaining, and I had heard the title one as a podcast. But still, there was no motivation for me to pick it up after finishing a story. It almost felt like work.
Then we get to the novel. It is criminally easy to like a character that you can hear the thought process of. And you have to think while you read, so you can’t be distracted. The book won’t read itself. Unlike a movie. An author has total control of the script and isn’t pandering to investors. There is no big investor hoping to make their money back. The financial outlay for the producer of a novel is minimal by Hollywood standards. With that freedom, you get good books. Books that draw you back to them. Books that can be read in bed before going to sleep or getting up in the morning. (Can’t do that with television without feeling like a loser.)
So, does that mean a novel is mindless entertainment to me? Probably not, but you can see where I am getting at. A film requires too much effort to watch.

Some of my arguments fall apart when I reveal that the novel I just finished, “Steelheart” by Brandon Sanderson, is officially classified as “Children’s Fiction”. That may explain why I was able to inhale it so easily.