Hit Coffee is the story of Will Truman (trumwill),
transplant in the mountain west with an IT background who bides his time
substitute teaching while his wife brings home the bacon.
This site is a collection of reflections
on the goings-on in his life and in the world around him. You will probably
be relieved to know that he does not generally refer to himself in the
third-person except when he's writing short bios on his web page.
Greetings from Callie, Arapaho, a red town in a red state known for growing
red meat. And from Redstone, Arapaho(Aw-RAH-pah-hoe), a blue city with blue collar roots that's been feeling blue
for quite some time.
Nothing written on this site should be taken as strictly true, though
if the author were making it all up rest assured the main character
and his life would be a lot less unremarkable.
This website is maintained by Guy Webster (web),
who also contributes from time to time.
Web hails from the midwest and currently lives
in Truman's home city of Colosse, Delosa. He works as a utility IT person at
Southern Tech University, their alma mater.
Also contributing is Sheila Tone (stone) a West Coaster, breeder, and lawyer
who has probably hooked up with some loser just like you and sees through
your whole pathetic little act.
Inmates in state prisons are dying at an average yearly rate of 250 per 100,000, according to the latest figures reported to the Justice Department by state prison officials. By comparison, the overall population of people between age 15 and 64 is dying at a rate of 308 a year.
White and Hispanic prisoners are dying at slightly higher rates in prison, but blacks more than compensate.
I’d guess that there are three factors at play here:
Three hots and a cot. I’d imagine prison food isn’t the most healthy, but it’s probably more balanced than what a lot of people get outside prison.
Free health care.
Barriers to drug use and reckless behavior. Only 2% die from alcohol, drugs, or accidental injuries.
These numbers are despite a whopping 8% of deaths being due to homicide or suicide.
In an article entitled “The Irrational 18-Year-Old Criminal,” Joel Waldfogel explains that the latest research indicates that the threat of prison time does not deter criminals.
Maybe the 18 year old criminals aren’t so irrational after all…
Eugene Volokh noticed a shirt that says </hate>, which presumably means “end hate”. Eugene points out that what it’s really saying is “end hate for now” and will probably resume later, since most </i> are on documents that resume italics later (or at least reserve the right to).
I bet the guy has a <hate> T-shirt in his closet that he was wearing three days before; he’s hated all the stuff between then and the </hate> shirt; and he’ll be wearing the <hate> shirt next time he’s got some hating to do. Plus he certainly wouldn’t just wear the shirt without having worn <hate> before, and on the same page — that would be syntactically non-compliant.
So the solution would then be a shirt that says </hate></html>… except that might just call for the end of mankind, which would kind of defeat the purpose.
I found this by way of Dustbury, who points out that <i> is, in fact, being retired (or at least depricated) in favor of <em> by the powers that be.
My mother has two sisters, both significantly younger than herself. The middle sister, Evelyn, always had a taste for the finer things in life. Though they were raised dirt-poor, she declared at a very young age that if she did nothing else with her life, she would marry rich. She met Rich in college. Rich, a good and decent man who loves and is loved by Evelyn quite genuinely, has provided her with a 6 bedroom house in Carolina, a log cabin in New England, a beachhouse in Florida, and a vacation home in Britain.
Though my mother had children late in life, the age difference meant that my brothers and I came before Evelyn would spawn any of her own. As we grew up, Aunt Evelyn was a constant critic of the way that we were raised. She was never anything but nice to us, but she felt that my mother was doing everything all wrong. We didn’t need to go to prep school as long as the public schools were good.
Mom thought that as long as we went to church, it didn’t matter if we didn’t wear a coat and tie in the hot southern heat. Mom thought that as long as we were home in time for supper, she didn’t have to know exactly where we were every moment of the day. Evelyn, to say the least, did not agree. Every way that we strayed ever-so-slightly from the formal way that they were raised was grooming us for social failure. Every compromise was a compromise of integrity.
Gregory dropped out of school at 16 to become a rock star. Rich and Evelyn responded by sending Gregory off to military school, where he lasted less than a semester and was kicked out for dealing drugs. With threats having failed, they turned to bribery. They sent him off to music school, where he was also kicked out. He didn’t want to become a musician, he wanted to be a rock star.
He moved in with a girlfriend (which would have thrown my mother into orbit, there’s no telling how Evelyn responded) before catching her cheating on him and then moving back home. The initial thought was that time at home could do Gregory good, but Greg found some other place to be and she started getting the distinct impression that he might be doing drugs. He had somehow managed to convince them that it had been a misunderstanding before. Evelyn told her maid about her suspicions but also that she hadn’t found any drugs. In a scene right out of a sitcom, the maid darted across the room and found the stash in the third place that she looked, hiding in some shoes on a shelf in the closet.
Gregory decided to pursue his music career in Amsterdam, which his parents gladly funded hoping that he might find something there that he hadn’t in the US. Instead, they found that they were a lot happier when he was far away. He eventually came back to the US and they set him up in Boston.
He has a two-bedroom apartment all to himself in downtown Boston. He has a job as a real estate agent, though I get the feeling that he misses more days than he makes. He’s getting tired of the Boston scene so he’s thinking about getting an apartment in Manhatten. Decisions, decisions. His parents don’t care as long as he isn’t moving back to Carolina.
Malcolm is a less tragic case. Having dealt with one emergency after another with Gregory, they were too worn out to spend too much time parenting Malcolm. They just bought him what he wanted and because Mal wasn’t the rebel that Gregory was, it sufficed. Even so, Malcolm never went to college opting instead to go to art school and work in production design. He’s not a criminal, though he’s not really much of anything else, either.
As far as I know Mom has not lorded it over on Aunt Evelyn. Her revenge has been a quiet one. Two of the three Truman boys married acceptably. We all got college degrees and we all hold full time jobs. Of the three of us, I’m the screw-up and I was more at 22 than either of my cousins are today.
I don’t care what you think of politics or even what you think of her personally, you have got to feel at least a little bit sorry for Hillary Rodham Clinton.
There she is, the first serious, office-holding politician to take a shot at the presidency. History-making stuff!
But who is she running against? The first serious, office-holding black presidential candidate in American history. And the first serious, office-holding Hispanic candidate.
With a black senator and a Hispanic governor running, a senator woman is a lot less newsworthy. She’ll probably win so I guess we shouldn’t feel too sorry.
Of course the ironic thing is that the black guy “isn’t really black“, the Hispanic guy is named Richardson, and the feminist owes her senate seat in large part to her husband. All that’s required to make the joke complete is if the white guy ends up winning the nomination.
“They are all right in the metropolitan areas. But if I sell a rural property to one, I would never disclose where he comes from.” So says Cody Burns, an estate agent, of the single biggest group of migrants to Utah. Mexican immigrants get most of the attention in Washington, DC. In the American West, though, they are less numerous and, in some areas, less unpopular than arrivals from California.
Complaining about Californians is an old tradition in the Rockies; but it is reaching a new intensity. Five million people who were born in California now live outside the state. They are America’s second-biggest domestic diaspora, after New Yorkers, and the most noticeable. California is by far the most populous state in the West—and still growing rapidly. It has become a demographic machine, drawing in foreigners while disgorging its own population across the deserts and mountains. In the process, it transforms those areas.
Deseret has a lot to say about California implants… and almost none of them nice. A little to my surprise even my part of Estacado is a little agitated by the influx of Californians.
I’ve just updated the site’s bio page. I’d updated it about a month ago but for some reason I either didn’t save it or it reverted back to the old one. Please pretty much ignore that one. The current one is more accurate and more pertinent to the current direction of the site.
Also, there’s a Frequently Asked Questions page. That’s a bit dishonestly named since no one has really asked any questions. So in the name of accuracy in page titles, if you have any questions about me or the site, feel free to ask them.
Gerald Pullman isn’t actually a rock star, nor is his name actually Gerald Pullman. But you can catch his music videos on CMT and GAC, so discretion is the better part of valor.
Long before he made his way to Nashville and the national stage, Gerald was making the rounds in Delosa as an opening act at small bars across the state. One of those bars was the Buick’s Bar in downtown Colosse, where I had gone to see Roscoe Davis, who was headlining. Pullman was a workhorse who did a lot of shows so I had seen his name here and there, though I didn’t know much about him.
What I remember most about the first time I did see him play wasn’t him but a young woman named Melanie that I danced with off and on throughout the night. We talked some but danced more. She was attractive and had a way of making a guy feel special even without words. Pullman, on the other hand, was awkward all night and I distinctly remember thinking that he sounded distracted. In between acts while I was at the bar, Melanie left.
I didn’t have any particular interest in seeing Pullman again, but I must admit I was at least a little interested in seeing Melanie again. I didn’t figure that there was anything there, but I found excuses to go anyhow. I never saw Melanie again, but with each passing show Pullman got better and better. He never repeated his lackluster performance from that first night.
At some point I struck up a conversation with Gerald about his upcoming record. Along the way he mentioned that he was a little concerned about what he would do after this record was released because it had “the last of the Melanie songs.”
“Melanie songs?” I asked.
Apparently, he used to be wild over a girl named Melanie. Mel was the inspiration behind every love and heartbreak song he had written up to that point. I asked him if she was back in Surfenberg, his home town.
“No,” he explained. “We grew up together in Surfenberg, but she came here to go to college.”
I remembered his Gerald’s first show. How Melanie had apparently gone to see him play because she left before Davis took the stage. How awkwardly Gerald played. How it was likely that he was trying to play songs about Melanie while she was right there in front of him dancing and flirting with some guy.
I’m guessing that he didn’t remember either the incident or the guy that she was dancing with. I didn’t remind him.
All three tales you are about to read are 100% true.
Once in my life, I have been witness to what happens when someone did something blindingly stupid, and probably lost their life for it. On my way to work about 4 years ago, at an intersection that involves some ill-timed stoplights and a freeway underpass (leaving cross traffic a good 150 feet or so to get up to speed before the second intersection), I watched a small car try to run a red light.
Said small car was promptly compacted to probably 1/3 its former size by the dual impact of a Dodge Ram and a Ford F-250, both of which hit it on the driversí side. Said small car, after these impacts, flew forward and wrapped its remaining mass (minus almost all the glass and at least one door and a wheel) around the post for the traffic lights.
Twice in my life, I have been fortunate enough to have blind cosmic luck save my life.
The first time was in the first car I ever owned. It was a huge boat of a car, not that that mattered. It was probably about 10 at night, and I was on my way home from something I forget what. Iíd just filled up at a gas station, and was getting ready to pull out to drive home when the car stalled. Half a second later, while I was trying to restart it, an 18-wheel Semi with two trailers attached to it blew right past my front bumper at probably double the posted speed limit of 45.
The second time was this morning; I was coming through Colosseís downtown area (the freeways were all messed up) on the edge, to get to work. Stopped at a four-way intersection, checked both waysÖ clear. Hit the gas, let back on the clutch, and realized Iíd forgotten to shift back to first gear.
While I was shifting, a car came down the road, again obviously speeding, and blew right through the intersection, right through the place where my driversí side door probably would have been.
Iím alive. My nerves are shot, and thereís this nagging feeling in the back of my mind that something or someone is REALLY watching out for meÖ but Iím alive to tell the tale, which is probably more than I could say had either event not happened, and itís probably more than I can say of the person who ran the red light in my first tale.
I wrote my first novel when I was 17. It was something of a jumbled mess that was written after my first real heartbreak at the hands of Tracy. It was originally a nigh-autobiographical summation of all that she had done to me. But somewhere in the writing of it I could see the various things that I was doing wrong. It was twice damning of Tracy, but it was at least once damning of myself. I had intended to tell the world about Tracy and the things that she had done, but instead I opened my eyes to myself and the things that I had done.
This Is Not A Film is a movie about a movie in the form of a documentary. It’s not nearly as confusing as it sounds. The following review does contain some spoilers, though says no more about the movie than I knew about it going in.
In TINAF, Michael Conner fears that a miscommunication caused his girlfriend to leave him. He has no way of contacting her so he decided to make a movie. A “message in a bottle” as he put it. His hope is that the movie becomes big enough that someone that knows where she is has seen it, will pass along the nature of the misunderstanding, and will perhaps rectify things. This Is Not A Film is the movie that he made, wherein he talks about her and what happens and works with an annoyed actress friend at re-enacting noteworthy points in his relationship with Grace. Oh, and there’s this thing called A Laughing Circle, which is sort of the opposite of a Fight Club.
The metafictional pretense notwithstanding, I found the movie immensely enjoyable. I typically enjoy movies that set out to be about one thing and become something else entirely. The idea behind the movie is that Michael Connor needs to find and explain himself to Grace. But with the help of his refreshingly blunt and amusing actress friend Nadia, it becomes a re-evaluation of his story. As he himself puts it later in the movie, it’s amazing how when you look back at a relationship a lot of the things that you thought were huge really weren’t and some of a relationship’s most pivotal moments can fly under the radar.
I almost completely missed one of the most pivotal moments of my relationship with Eva, the last serious girlfriend I had before meeting Clancy. We were in an argument about something that was very, very important (so much so I haven’t a clue what it was) when she said, exasperated, “this would all be a lot easier if you were having fun.”
It flew over my head at the time. Who was she to tell me not to be pissed off?! She was in the wrong and since she couldn’t defend her actions (and she couldn’t, that I do remember) she was trying to change the subject or evade… something. But that was ultimately the most profound thing that she could have said. We’d both have been a lot better off if I just could have absorbed that. No, the relationship’s failure was not my fault, but my misery sure was.
One of my favorite exchanges is when Nadia objects to some of the lines she’s given because she considers them to be juvenile and stupid. He reiterates that they’re re-enacting something that actually happened. To which she replies “That makes them stupid twice!”
I know that a lot of events in my life that I wish I could rewrite. I couldn’t rewrite what ended up happening, of course, but you ever find yourself thinking about your own stupid behavior and think “That was unavoidably a bad situation, but surely I could have thought of a better way to handle it than that?!” Periodically I’ll get caught in negative feedback loops where I think only of such situations. Stupid things I said into the void that the void spits back at me at the most inopportune times.
There is a park near where I work where I sometimes eat lunch. At this park there is a story scrawled in sharpie and ballpoint pen on the lunch tables where I eat.
The story goes that there is this girl named Johanna. Johanna loves this guy named Chris Mendoza. She loves him so much that she has dedicated some of her time over the period of weeks writing about her love next to such artistic masterpieces as the anatomically exaggerrated penis, rhymes about Nantucket, and phone numbers someone looking for a good time might call. Johanna is carrying or has given birth to Chris’s baby, which she so creatively named Chris Mendoza, Jr.
In an interesting development a couple weeks ago, Johanna’s writing has been scratched out and is now accompanied by writing from some girl named Rochelle. Rochelle not-so-kindly informs Johanna that her advances are not appreciated and that bad things will come to her if she persists in trying to take “my man.”
There is no comment from Chris as of the writing of this post.
There is a happy ending for Johanna, forever. She has now declared her undying love for a fellow by the name of Joe. This love appears to be reciprocated as “Johanna [heart] Joe” writings are accompanied by “Joe [heart] Johanna” in slightly different handwriting. It’s possible that she got someone else to write that to give strangers the impression that her love is this time reciprocated, but I am not quite sure that anyone is that pathetic.
Unfortunately, some time last week a woman by the name of Cassie declares that Joe is, in fact, hers. Her use of the word “still” in reference to her possession of Joe suggests that perhaps Joe is of a different mind on the subject and that Cassie’s possession of Joe has, in fact, expired.
There is no comment from Joe as of the writing of this post.
Judging from her grammar, spelling, and vernacular, a reader gets the sense that Johanna is not the sharpest tool in the shed, though Cassie’s education appears to be left even more in desire of substance. Rochelle’s vocabulary appears to be the most thorough with her creative suggestions as to what happens to young women that cross her by trying to steal her man. What education she has, however, appears to be buried in whatever the female version of machismo is.
My coworker Pat believes that there is a moral to the story: Get an education or end up pleading for the father of your children to take you back with a sharpie on a park picnic table.
Covered by insurance and all I took a trip to the doctor today. Since it was my first visit with the doctor I had to go through the whole process of family medical history and all that. She asked if there was any history of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and a host of other things. As far as I know, there isn’t.
Without really even thinking about it, I made the comment that it was hard to tell about a lot of these things because on my mother’s side no male has ever lived past the age of 55. That, I discovered, is a really good way to get a doctor’s attention.
I first found out about the lack of longevity of the Hertzog side of my family by accident. I had heard that hair loss heredity comes from the mother’s side and so I asked if there was a history of hairloss. She said that the good news was that Hertzog men died with a full head of hair. The bad news made the good news small comfort.
Since it was limited to men she was particularly worried about heart disease. I’m really not sure how much that was a factor. A lot of the deaths weren’t health-related (except, you know, the death part, which can safely be considered unhealthy). My uncle died in a sledding accident, my grandfather died hunting. Some were health related, but not heart disease as far as I know. My great-grandfather died of pneumonia, for instance. If I had to guess a lot of it is alcohol-related. The sledding accident probably wasn’t, but the hunting accident may have been. I swear I’ve heard “liver failure” somewhere in my family history.
This all used to freak me out when I was younger. There was a while where I honestly planned to live like I was going to die at or before 55. Then I realized that I have an older biological brother. Once he breaks the 55 year old barrier, I no longer have to worry about it. And he’s definitely not the type to die before 55. If he does, though, I’m going to draft one of those “things to do before I die” lists a lot earlier in life than most do.
The doctor kindly informed me that things like this are good things to tell doctors when it comes to family history. She wanted to do up a bloodwork, but apparently a family history of early death is wholly insufficient for the insurance company.
I think it just feeds the already insecure people with tactics that don’t always work. Sometimes people just get to the point where they don’t understand why they haven’t met someone decent (at the very least) and so go looking for answers and will probably try anything to succeed in dating.
To which I replied:
Here’s the problem: these books, as obnoxious as they are, are very often reasonably good predictors of human response and behavior.
To which Spungen expressed skepticism and asked for examples.
Before I get started, A story about when it was first suggested that the Earth revolved around the sun instead of vice-versa. The Catholic Church denounced the theory. The Pope, however, was approached by a bunch of mariners that said that using this theory was actually helping them navigate the waters, but they were good Catholics and didn’t want to disregard the Church. The Pope said that if the theory helped them, then they could use it as long as they didn’t believe it.
Also, there’s a movie out there that I have not seen but was explained to me. In the story, a woman ran across a book on how to train dogs and decided to use the lessons on how to train a dog to train her boyfriend. It was a remarkable success. He of course found out about it and was mad and they made up and I assume lived happilly ever after.
I do not, for what it’s worth, believe a woman should think of her man like a dog. I don’t think that she should tream him like a dog. But even though I reject the whole premise of her actions, many of the things that one does with a dog one should also do with a human. Show appreciation and reward desirable behavior. Express disapproval with undesirable behavior in a manner that he will understand, and so on. I don’t advocate to a woman to think of her man as anything but a man, but even if the premise is wrong and offensive, the advice is quite efficient.
I firmly believe that when a relationship between two people is right that games generally do not need to be played. I have driven myself crazy in the past trying to make the unworkable work and it proved, shockingly, unworkable. I have acted very strategically to try to bring relationships together and have met with some success, but the relationships that really matter are more a matter of not blowing it rather than making things work. That’s not to say that even promising relationships aren’t fraught with potential peril, but it is to say that a real relationship is generally so special that the problems presented that prove irreversible harm are special and unique to the relationship involved.
That being said, most relationships are not that unique. In fact, they fall into the category of a cold-blooded negotiation wherein both parties interests never move beyond themselves to the partner or making things work with the partner. As such, the boilerplate solutions presented by relationship gurus come in to play a lot more often than they probably should. And the good books are written by people that have caught the rhythms of these relationship failures and provided ways to avoid pitfalls with a bunch of overgeneralized if-then statements. But far from useless, these books not-infrequently bring to the attention of the reader patterns of human behavior that they could see for themselves if they knew what they were looking for.
So some examples.
John Gray, the author of the Mars & Venus books, is by most accounts a fraud. He got a sham degree from a fake university and used that as a launching pad in to pop psychology. That being said, his books were successful because they resonated with a large number of people. They resonated with a large number of people because they contained a perspective that, for whatever reason, has helped a large number of couples, my ex-girlfriend Julie and I among them.
Whatever Gray’s disqualifications for writing it, what he had to say regarding the mood cycle of women explained a whole lot of how Julie had been acting. the trite metaphor about the wave rising and crashing fit extraordinarily well. Maybe it shouldn’t have taken a book to point it out, but it did. The tidbit about how to listen to a woman when she’s sharing the frustrations of her day helped me stop making her bad days worse by trying to fix her problems for her. And the advice that it gave her, when she took it, was equally helpful. This is all despite the fact that I am hardly a masculine man’s man and she was hardly a southern belle of a woman.
But some of the positive effect it had on my relationship with Julie can be attributed to the fact that we both read it. Perhaps we started responding favorably as Gray said we would because Gray said that we should. I don’t believe that to be the case, but it’s impossible to say, really. But what proved remarkable about it is how a lot of what Gray had to say worked not only with Julie, but with her successors, many of whom detested Gray and swore up and down that he was full of crap.
Not, not everything he had to say worked with every girl I knew. Gray’s advice is built as part of a traditionalist worldview on relationships that I rejected long before I married my strong-headed alphaish doctor of a wife. Some of Gray’s suggestions regarding chivalry would not only have been wasted but resented by some of the women I’ve dated over the years. But on the whole, the advice was spot-on more than it was wrong and a reasonable predictor of what would get a positive reaction and what would get a negative one, what would keep her happy and what wouldn’t. And often quite contrary to what she told me would be the case.
I carry no brief for John Gray. I have no ideological attachment to Mars & Venus. I could care less whether it worked because of the biological differences between men and women or because society has programmed us the way that it has. What I care about is that the advice is, though not 100%, solid.
To follow Doc Love’s advice is to apply a level a strategy that is unhealthy in a human relationship. The entire enterprise is quite manipulative. A relationship that needs this level of tactics is not likely to be a great one. It takes the thrill out of meeting and falling in love and replaces it with a game of romantic chess. But his analysis of what works and what doesn’t has proven (to me, anyway) remarkably adept.
Beware giving someone what they say they want. What a woman says that she values in a guy and what she actually places a value on are two separate things. This is no less true for men, but Doc Love gives advice to men for women and not vice-versa. When women say that they want a man that is open and honest and affectionate, they want a man that will be those things eventually. A guy that is those things too early throws everything off balance and runs the risk of coming across as desperate, insecure, and needy.
A lot of women will get impatient as a guy opens up slowly, but this is exactly as it should be whether she realizes it or not (sometimes she does, sometimes she doesn’t). Relationships often continue to unfold most successfully as she emotionally pries bit by bit as he lets out the rope hand by hand. If he moves too quickly or doesn’t move at all, problems will ensue.
This was, I have to say, a mistake that I made repeatedly. I’m a pretty open guy. I honestly enjoy expressing myself, it’s why I write! Far from being to my benefit, however, it was torpedoing chances that I might have otherwise had. Spungen is quick to point out that it’s usually the case that a chance was never had, but all I can say in my defense that in my case it was verified later, when I was more cautious and things did actually start happening (or she wanted them to but I lost interest).
Every election people love to throw out worthless data predicting the winner of the election. Sometimes it’s that when this football team beats that football team the Republican wins and other times it’s the winner of some state will win the whole election. What they say is true, but they present it as though it’s proof that there is a connection (there is obviously a connection between Missouri’s electoral votes and the ultimate winner, of course, but it’s no more than Missouri’s electoral votes added to its winner’s totals).
The most interesting ones are the ones that track economic models. They vouch 100% accuracy in predicting who won past elections. This was repeated over and over again as proof that Al Gore would dominate the 2000 election. Whatever you think of that election, we should all be able to agree that Gore did not do as well as the economic model suggested he would. Why not? Well, because the economic model was based on the very elections it’s being judged against. The 2000 election wasn’t a part of those calculations because it hadn’t happened yet. If it were it would have changed the “foolproof” formula.
I mention that because The Ladder Theory has the same problem. It attempts to explain what has happened and then establish a causal effect even where one doesn’t exist.
The Ladder Theory was written by a bitter guy that wanted to explain away his romantic failures. It is primarily boosted by bitter guys that want their relationship failures to not be their fault and rely on a not-so-thinly veiled mysogynistic theory to do so. Personally, I got no problem accepting my role in all of my romantic failures. My theory has always been that if it was something I did, it’s something that I can avoid doing next time (by either not screwing up a chance I had or not wasting my time with a chance I never had).
I also think that The Ladder Theory is problematic in its essence. It places far too much emphasis on money and power and makes no mention of personal charm and charisma (which comes in varieties other than dominating). It also presents both men and women as automatons incapable of independent thought and direction.
But despite the relatively warped view of men and women, the notion of two ladders and an abyss is in my mind indisputable. A lot of guys make the mistake of thinking that if they just get close enough to a woman they can be promoted to romantic interest when in fact personal interest and romantic interest are two separate things. I am (I hope) on the “friend” ladder of all the women I know. I can become extremely close to one or two, but because I am married I will never end up on the other ladder. It’s nothing personal. It’s not a rejection of their worth or what they mean to me or vice-versa, it just is.
But it doesn’t have to be marriage that sticks a guy on the “Friends” ladder. I once had a female friend that I was crazy about. I wanted to be a heck of a lot more than friends, but for a variety of reasons I wasn’t what she was looking for romantically. I wasn’t Catholic, I’ve never had a small frame, I think quietly more than I talk, and the list goes on and on. She really did like me a lot and it was nothing personal. But I never had a shot.
When a guy is at the top of the friendship ladder, he can’t just keep climbing to the relationship ladder. He has to either stay where he is or take a leap. And if the leap fails, which it probably will, he will have to accept being in the abyss (which is basically out of her life) or climbing back up the Friends ladder. Not because she’s a meanie-poo (as The Ladder Theory might suggest) but because he took the leap. Envisioning the ladders, the abyss, and the leap, is an extraordinarily helpful model even if I don’t buy in to the bitterness of the theory as a whole.
In a couple of cases I was on the friendship ladder, jumped for the relationship one and missed. Ironically, in my two most dramatic tumbles I ultimately did end up on the relationship ladder. In other words I became the object of their romantic affections. When all of this was happening, I didn’t understand what was happening or why. I didn’t understand how I had gotten into a position both enviable and maddening. Or where that position was or how far it was from where I wanted to be. The Ladder Theory’s model explained it and once I was familiar with it I had a visual model as I watched other people do what I had attempted to do (or not do).
Anyway, the point that I am making is that oftentimes these things persist because they explain things that are in a way that people can understand. They’re varying degrees of imperfect, mind you, but they are often better indicators of what different people will do (or should do) in circumstances than the people themselves.
One of the greatest song’s that you’ll never hear was written by a DJ in Colosse. Though he had it in digital form, he shared it with nobody. People would hire him to DJ an event just so that he would play the song. And he’d only play it twice (once in the middle of the party and then again to close the party out). It featured a young woman with a very young sounding voice singing a bunch of nursery rhymes. She started off reciting the words to that little hand thing “Here’s the church and here’s the steeple…”. As she moved from one nursery rhyme to another, an instrument was added. First drums, then a bass guitar, followed by a regular guitar, a flute, an electric guitar, an accordian, a violin, and a piano (there are more, but I forget them or didn’t know them). At one point there are ten instruments playing before the original instruments start dropping off.
It’s the ultimate dance and party song. When played, the room is full of people jumping around and singing along. Sometimes yelling along with the girl meekly reciting nursery rhymes we’ve all heard. The song is vaguely symbolic of a young girl’s entry into the adult world. Each new instrument represents another burden that she will have to carry. By the middle of the song, her voice is almost drowned out by all that surrounds it. So much so that we used to wonder if she actually stopped singing and cut back in until we specifically listened for her voice. Emblematic, I suppose, of how we lose ourselves in reacting to what surrounds us. The DJ never really explained this all to us, but we figured it out.
Out interpretation may have been a misguided attempt to attach significance to that which had none, but it was powerful nonetheless. A couple of us were talking about the song at a party when a young woman meekly told us that she was the one doing the singing. We had no way to verify this, but it was at a party of one of the song’s acolytes and it seemed credible. She also fit the description that we had been given. Thin, pale, and blond. She gave enough of the story about the song to have some credibility there.
Though none of us voiced doubt, she seemed to believe that we were doubting her. So she started singing. Her voice had changed somewhat, but her annunciation of certain words rang true. She wasn’t singing long before her voice started cracking a bit and she started crying. She left for the bathroom and we didn’t see her again until she left the party.
It was a little bit later that we did the math. The girl wasn’t much more than sixteen. The song was at least three or four years old, probably closer to five. The song was written, the DJ had told us, after he and the singer had stopped sleeping together. He’d left out the fact that she was roughly twelve at the time.
The song was never really the same after that. It had become even more powerful than before, but impossible to dance to.
I’ve been watching and listening to the British TV show Coupling over the past few weeks. It’s reminiscent of Friends, except a little more crude and a lot more entertaining. Unlike Friends it also focuses on couples that are rather than couples that might be, which is something of a refreshing change.
Coupling was brought over to the US a few years ago and became the epitome of poor UK-US translation. At the outset I should state that I have never seen the American version, though I have no doubt that it is every bit as poor as its critics suggest. By the sounds of it they followed the script to a T and I could easily see the script falling flat with increased FCC regulation and American accents.
That being said, I can’t help but escape the feeling that a lot of the critics on IMDB take on a tone of superiority by trashing the American version and the fact that they would be trashing it almost regardless of quality. When a show is translated from one audience to another, they have a few options about how to go about doing it and every single option gives these cultural snobs the opportunity to lourd their superiority over us plebian Americans:
Option 1: They take the script directly or make very small changes.
If they take the script directly, then some parts are not going to translate quite as well. Even if everything does translate, they’ll ask (and not unreasonably) why they didn’t just air the British version of the show (FCC concerns aside). Then, what little changes they may make, will be considered an absolute betrayal of the original.
Option 2: They revamp and “Americanize” the show.
The snobs need a fan from this to keep them from passing out. They’ll accuse the producers of jettisenning precisely what make the show “work” over there, regardless of what they change. Then they’ll say that whatever was changed was an example of how the show has been “dumbed down” and how superior they are for appreciating the original. It’ll be derided as “completely different” from the original.
Option 3: They take the bare elements but leave off the name to avoid comparisons.
They’ll relentlessly call the show a “rip-off” of the British show and accuse the producers of trying to take credit for someone else’s creative work. Even if the content of the show is the exact same as Option 2, they will actually accentuate the similarities and call it a “knock-off” (whereas in Option 2 the term would be “betrayal”)
In the process of deriding the new show, they will talk endlessly about how they saw the original and will attempt to use this as a reason why their opinion is valid while yours is not. If you saw the original but like the American version better, you will be accused of not have an appropriate appreciation for the nuances of non-American culture. Even if you say that you like both for different reasons, you’ll be accused of “not getting it”.
The Office, at present, is perhaps the most successful fictional show carried over. What some people forget is that it was originally derided as yet another example of how American producers “don’t get it.” Granted, the first season was weaker than subsequent seasons, but I maintain that the only reason that the critics have relented is that they have been overwhelmed by the positive response of the American version.
Ironically, the criticism that people who prefer the American version to the British don’t understand or appreciate Brit “dry humour” come off sounding a lot like Michael Scott when talking about any other culture where he feels the need to be multiculturally aware.
For what it’s worth, I have a slight preference for the American version of The Office, though I can easily recognize those areas where the British version is superior. I think in some ways they compliment one another. The American version would not exist if not for the British version, of course. However, the British version only lasted twelve episodes and a couple specials and now the American version is the only place where people can more Office-style humor is via the American version.
I just had a piece of frozen gum and it was kind of cute. The gum, I mean, not me chewing it.
I took a bite out of it and it was crunchy. Then, after a bit of chewing, it realized that it was supposed to be soft and chewy and became such.
I’m sure a science major could explain to me that it became chewy as it heated up in my mouth, but I prefer to think of the gum as cute.
They let us out of work early today due to inclement weather. It’s freezing out there, as evidenced by the cute gum and fog coming out of my breath. I had intended to get some coffee on my way to work, but I was in a hurry. I did, however, manage to get some on the way back home. It’s about a 45 minute drive and it took the entire trip for the coffee to get cool enough for me to actually drink it.
I’m not easily stunned by the news of the day, but this one did it for me. A Sheriff’s Deputy was released for prison after one year for murdering a suspect that was handcuffed and laying on the ground
Given the circumstances (the suspect had just killed the cop’s partner), I can certainly understand taking a pass on first degree murder. It obviously wasn’t premeditated and the cop was under a great deal of stress. I can understand a light sentence. But one year? For killing an already neutralized threat? And apparently the only reason he spent a year in jail was that he used a firearm to do it. If he’d just found a pick-axe he might have gotten off on probation.
The world will absolutely not miss the guy that was killed. But we have a criminal justice department for a reason. I honestly wish the guy weren’t handcuffed or that it wasn’t caught on tape so that there were some credible excuse for what happened. But the guy wasn’t and it was. The system should behave accordingly.
Americans have a problem with fast food and they have a problem with credit cards, so it’s not that surprising to see that the two dovetail tidely:
U.S. consumers racked up an estimated $51 billion worth of fast food on their personal credit and debit cards in 2006, compared to $33.2 billion one-year ago.
I remember a time not so long ago that fast food places didn’t even take credit cards. I remember my shock upon running across the first one that did. Any time I was low on cash, which I usually was, I would go to that one regional fastfood chain. Then Wendy’s started doing it and I could go there, too. Then McD’s. Now it’s a question of whether or not they accept the Discover Card, not whether or not they accept credit cards.
I enjoy the convenience, but it makes it much harder to diet by way of an anemic wallet.
Both Abel and Spungen express some curiosity about my previous comment that the pot-smokers that I knew in Mormon-dominated Deseret were generally cooler than those I knew in southern Colosse and, for that matter, southwestern Estacado.
I first started smoking on a bet that went horribly wrong, but one of the things that kept me going was the social aspect of it. Many years ago, when such things existed, my family sat in the smoking section in a cruise ship dining room. Every time we did that there seemed to be at least one person or couple that didn’t smoke. Why did they sit at the smoking table? Better conversation. Better enough that they were willing to pollute their lungs for it!
Until I moved to Deseret, smoking was generally a social activity. This was particularly true in college at Southern Tech. To be blunt, smoking automatically weeded out the stick-in-the-muds. Not all non-smokers are stick-in-the-muds, of course. Most aren’t. But the number of members among the uptight population find it prudent and worthwhile to light something on fire and breathe in the fumes purposefully. So, in addition to the fact that we would light something on fire and breathe in the smoke, public smokers have something almost instantly in common with one another: Not likely to be stick-in-the-muds.
The same is true, to an extent, of drinking. Other than those that like the taste, people that drink want to relax. People that don’t want to relax don’t drink. People that are really concerned about getting a little too loose and doing something a little (or a lot) unwieldy don’t drink. So drinkers have in common the desire, to an extent, to cut loose.
Though I’m sure social scientists have a precise term for it, smoking and drinking are what I will call social identifiers.
Pot smoking is also a social identifier. However, due largely to the fact that it is illegal, it identifies a different social group. In addition to those that just like pot but not alcohol, it includes people that find some Higher Purpose in flouting the rules. It includes people that don’t want to do what Daddy tells them to do. It includes not just people that want to cut loose (cause most could do that with alcohol, if they wanted to) but people that have their priorities positioned in such a way that they are willing to risk a criminal record in order to do so. Following society’s rules when it comes to drugs and alcohol is not a particularly difficult task from the outset (different of course once you’re addicted), but they decline to do so.
In the land of Deseret, smoking and drinking have entirely different implications than they do in the rest of the Land of the Free. First and foremost, they signal that you are either not a Mormon or not a very good one. The significance of this cannot be understated. If you are drinking or smoking, particularly in public, you are signalling that you are not a part of the dominant culture. But unlike society’s general rules with drugs and alcohol, being a Mormon is a much more difficult task. For one thing, it requires a particular set of beliefs. You believe in the Bible, more or less, as well as the Mormon addenda thereto. Furthermore, you believe the church is the ultimate arbiter of things that are theologically true. If you’re a southern protestant, you can bounce around until you find a church that reflects your beliefs. Not so easy if you’re LDS.
So while you have to actively do something to become a social outlaw (using the term loosely, of course) in most of the country. In Deseret, you simply only have to not do enough. Stop going to church in the South, people may assume you started going to a different one. You generally don’t get to choose which LDS church you go to (it’s districted off like schools) and it’s quite possible you’ll end up with a Missionary on your doorstep if you stop going to church there (as happened to a couple pot-smoking friends).
I mentioned in the original comment that my coworker Simon thought that there were as many potsmokers out there as drinkers and more pot smokers than cigarette smokers. Why? Because everyone he knew that drank did pot. I had to actively convince him that it was just not like that across the country.
Once you’re outside social normity, it’s a lot easier to stray further from camp. The punk movement is absolutely huge in the Mormon capital at least partially in backlash to what is percieved to be (though isn’t really, anymore, at least in that city) the dominant culture. When you’re already crossed the line, there’s much less holding you back from going further.
The Deseretian pot-smokers are cooler because they’re former Mormons. Being a former Mormon (or a non-Mormon) in itself doesn’t make one cool. It’s certainly not the pot-smoking that makes them cool. It’s that, generally speaking, the socially relaxed people that are drinking and smoking in the south are also smoking pot in Deseret, whereas pot smoking in the south is more generally reserved for the agitated and the completely disaffected. In short, people like Carol Goddard are the unusual rather than the typical.
You ever know somebody that has spent nearly their entire relationship straddling the line of what you demand of them? They never go far enough to the other side of that line for you to be fully justified in taking action, and yet it’s obvious that they will never go any more to the righteous side than they have to.
And then one day they cross the line you laid out as clearly as possible and it’s all over. Your anger at what they did is completely overshadowed by the fact that it’s all over and you don’t have to worry about it any longer. And you almost want to thank them for making you mad.
That’s about how I feel right now.
Contrary to the impression I might have given you, this has nothing to do with Rick or anyone else I have expressly posted on. It’s actually sorta business-related. I’ll write all about it at some point, but for now I am savoring the severing.