Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Small world.

The Internet is definitely making the world smaller. One of the acts I most enjoyed at Wicked Faire was Coveilance Dance Project, a creative bellydancing troupe; they did one number to dubstep that I particularly enjoyed. So I looked up Coveilance on YouTube, and one of the first things I found was a video of that number with the back of my head in the way. (I'm the brunette not the blonde.)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Fishing for name suggestions again.

So, I don't really want to keep going by the old name, because I'm trying to make various web identities a little harder to associate. But people LIKE the old name, and AndrewVanbergen isn't catching on so well.

I didn't get any feedback on Megatherium. It begins with M, too, which is good; though I don't really like the "Mega" beginning, sounds a little too much along the "XTREME" lines. Here are some other ideas, perhaps even geekier:

Glyptodon, for similar reasons. And it's another xenarthran! Yes, I am a paleontology geek.

Therizinosaurus: Another giant-clawed semi-herbivore, this time a dinosaur, sometimes theorized as similar to Megatherium in lifestyle.

Opabinia: One of my favorites ever, it had five eyes on stalks and a sort of a trunk or flexible proboscis with a claw on the end and a set of sort of leafy fins along the sides to swim with and is probably sort of related to the arthropods and sort of to the velvet worms but is not really all that close to anything as normal as a bug. And I do tend to feel anything but normal, whether as a churchgoer at Wicked Faire or a Wicked Faire-goer at church.

Among more modern animals, there's the Pangolin. It's a scaly anteater than can hang from trees by its tail. Like everything on the list, it tickles my appreciation of the odd. (Manis crassicaudata? Kind of long and awkward.)

Then there's the Auk. Auks are one of the groups of birds that can walk, swim, and fly. I rather like the "many worlds" symbolism. One group of auks is the Murres, which begins with M like my old name.

Anyone have any thoughts?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

What to do on the spur of a bad moment?

This weekend was Wicked Faire; I had a great time like last year. More about that later, also someday there will be pictures of my costume, which turned out nice if I do say so as shouldn't.

But, there was an ugly incident I heard about. Some guy bit at least two women on the face (not hard enough to leave marks) without consent. The first one kind of froze, didn't know how to react. The second one was Sparkly Girl, who slapped him. He said "More" so she slapped him again harder. He started to grab a crop he was carrying and she held up a finger and said "No. You do not have permission." He backed down at that point.

I heard about it the next day. It was after a very short night after a string of short-sleep nights, and I was thinking really slowly. I voiced my disapproval of his actions, but since then it's gotten me thinking. The best way to make the right decision in a situation where thinking is difficult is to think it out as far as possible before hand. What should I have done?

The very unfortunate fact is from what I've heard, security and event organizers tend to try to cover these things up to protect the event rather than the attenders. I have no real reason to think this would be anything different; though I'd like to think better of the volunteer security guy I know by name, I don't REALLY know him. So if event security wouldn't want to do anything and the police wouldn't want to do anything, who does do something?

Should I have asked her to identify him to me, and challenged him to a fight outside? Should I have encouraged her to tell event security? If I were actually present, what should I do? Pretend I don't notice? Scold him? Take him down, put him in a pain compliance hold, and take him to security? (Pain compliance is super unreliable.) Given him a couple good, nauseating hits to remember? (wouldn't want to risk that it could be fun) Should I have asked Sparkly Girl if she would back me up by bringing sexual assault charges if he brought assault charges against me?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


I want forever in a marriage; well until death do us part. That isn't really forever, especially to someone who thinks he's got an immortal soul, but I think it's what is usually meant in romantic references such as songs. A lot of people think that wanting forever is the mark of a hopeless romantic yearning for the impossible. I'm going to be a little blunter than usual; they are wrong, there is plenty of clear evidence to the contrary. Marriage for life is still the norm in many parts of the world, was the norm in this part up until recently, and is still not all that uncommon here. And the people who engage in it, and the way married parents in those places/situations encourage their kids to marry, say they think it works pretty well.

Now, in some of the cases like marriage in India, where about 90% of marriages are arranged and there is almost no divorce, there are factors that help with that. One is clearly defined and socially enforced gender roles. A closely related one is limited expectations. The man does X, the woman does Y, and if both X and Y are kept up divorce is unthinkable; if they are not kept up the man or woman who doesn't keep them up is deeply shamed. X and Y are both quite doable and both viewed as sufficient. These two factors (enforced gender roles and limited expectations) obviously have their own cost; the cost of the first is basically the central point of many of the blogs I read.

One of the costs I guess at is a male-initiated sex life. In an Indian marriage, I suspect the man gets as much sex as he is willing to demand and argue for, and the woman gets as much sex as the man asks for. I have the impression that if she wants more she's basically expected to dress up and act sexy and try to get him to ask. I did agree to always be the one who initiated when my ex requested/demanded that after we were already married. But it's absolutely not something I would agree to from the beginning. It's a cost I'm not willing to pay, but I don't think it's required.

Another cost I guess at is that adultery is both fairly common and hypocritically vilified; winked at sometimes in private, loudly denounced in public. One of my coworkers apparently went to bars to pick up girls regularly while he was living here and his wife was living on the other side of the country. Cultural rules differ vastly on body language but another coworker, who spent the week near work without her husband and the weekend with her husband in another state, tended to look at me in a way that if she were American I would have considered an invitation to ask her out. (And boy, was she cute, so being eyed like that was kind of fun.) Another cost I wouldn't agree to from the outset, though not as bad as the "always-initiating" one in my mind.

I think there are things we can learn from other cultures, both in terms of what to do and what not to do. The thing I think we can particularly learn from in terms of what to do is limited expectations. There's a lot in forever that I would agree is impossible. It is impossible to keep the same kind of romantic feelings that sweep us off our feet in the first few years. Your spouse is only human; there will be mistakes and failures. And the main summary one is, your spouse will not, cannot, and is not responsible to, make you happy. Your spouse can and should be expected to do lots of predetermined things for you; but it's up to you to be happy with them.

I guess what I want is someone who will always love me the way I intend to always love her; love as an action, a decision. The earth from which all kinds of romantic emotion can spring. I have some record now of loving my exes despite poor treatment, and always trying to make it better. I want someone who will treat me the same way; who will always listen and try. Who I can be confident will keep trying to love me as I keep trying to love her, all our lives. And I don't think that's impossible; and I think that is love forever.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Self-Sabotaging Tastes

I have a (clean, safe for work) photo of a pretty young* blonde woman. She and a friend were selling pictures of themselves at the last Dorian's** to raise money for a cat charity. I think in conventional terms, probably prettier than this woman (NSFW), who happens to be a bit more to my taste because I like the black hair, somewhat darker skin, and the shape of her nose.

I chatted with both young ladies a while, they seemed happy to chat. They introduced themselves, and asked if they'd see me at other Dorian's. I asked the young lady to hold onto the photo, which is 8-1/2" x 11", until she was leaving, as I found it awkward to carry around. Later in the evening she came and found me as they were starting to pack their table, and said she wanted to be sure I got the pictures, and touched me on the arm and chest a few times while talking to me. She strongly gave me the impression that she considered me attractive, which as usual surprises me in such a pretty woman.

After admiring the picture of the black-haired girl (wishing she were more my age and that Mjukhet had more pictures near my age), I turned to get up, thinking there was no way someone who looked like that would be interested, and saw the picture of the blonde girl, and realized I was probably selling myself short again. And this would carry over into any social interaction. If I were to meet a woman my age who looked like the black-haired girl would, I would probably be especially reserved, eager not to show the hubris of thinking she might be interested, and I would come across as very cold and uninterested myself. I've noticed that I often encounter that kind of reserve in women I approach, and that the women who more approach me are much more attractive in conventional terms than the ones I approach; so I think I'm seeing the same phenomenon.

I know a couple that are a considerable mismatch in terms of looks; the husband, while by no means ugly, doesn't exactly stand out; the wife is quite beautiful (especially to my tastes, long black hair and olive skin). One time the subject of preferences came up, and I related mine, and she sighed and said to her husband (in a somewhat joking way), "I'm every man's dream except yours." I don't remember his tastes except that he likes blondes. I think that one of the reasons they ended up together was that he was the guy who was not intimidated by her looks, because they don't work so well for him.

So, I'm thinking not just league thinking but even our individual tastes sometimes sabotage us, entirely unnecessarily.


* My friends tell me I look about 32, not my actual age of 42. Women who approach me are usually in their early 20s; that's too much of an age gap for me, thinking of marriage. Not sure what to do about that.

** Yes that's where I get most of my blog fodder, also the highlight of my social life.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

I don't hate getting the Frederick's of Hollywood catalog anymore.

I don't hate getting the Frederick's of Hollywood catalog anymore. For a long time I hated getting it, because it reminded me that I was now alone; for a long time before that I hated getting it, because it reminded me of the box of lingerie that my now-ex had worn one or twice. Now, I don't care.

Eventually, I'll get around to emailing all the companies that send women's clothing catalogs here and tell them to stop. I get a lot more of them than men's clothing catalogs.