Worlds & Time

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Real World

I know that it's been a while since I posted. I've put more than a hundred hours in Final Fantasy XII, and I'm beginning to realize that this is the first Final Fantasy game that I just will not be able to beat every tiny minuscule bit of. Usually I go to Game FAQs and play through every conceivable section of side quests and max my characters at 99 or 100th level.

I don't know, maybe it's the way the game plays through battles for you. I don't know if I can handle that. Or the fact that I accidentally sold off all of my valuable items and now it may take years of battles to earn them back. I don't think that I can stand the mind numbing not participatory running around that it would require.

Playing in this way usually takes me 100 hours. The only game I've put more time into is FFVIII, and only because I've played through it about three full times.

So, just before I got sucked in, I was watching something mindless on MTV and realized that the new season of Real World has the hottest gay guy I've ever seen . . . and he's dating two women. He has this line about how he's from the South and he thought that if he dated enough women, he'd become ex-gay.

And then there's the black guy who hates (i.e. feels they are not following God's will) gay people. Now this cute gay boy may be dating women, but he's still gay. Watch the tension unfold.

And recently, I've been thinking, November 30th is the day that I will, undeniably, be too old to audition for the Real World. Granted, it's more than likely that I'm already too old, but it hasn't been undeniable. There's always some way to deny it.

I know this is shallow, but I've always wanted to be on the Real World. Always. I always watch it and say to myself, "ST, you always feel rejected and out of place. You always feel at odds with people. You would either be a great mediator, or the perfect jerk on the Real World. It is where you should be."

I even have an angle. I'm an evangelical atheist. A gay, liberal, evangelical atheist. They should be so lucky to have someone as controversial as I am in the house. Throw me in with a Islamic fundamentalist and watch the drama fly.

So, I've been really depressed recently, thinking about this. On the one hand, I was calling this guy and asking him to tape the interview, and on the other hand, I wasn't sure if I wanted to do it so I never pressed the issue.

But as crazy as it is, it's a dream. How ironic is that. The guy outside of the mainstream of society desperately wants to get into the Real World.

So here it is, just before the deadline, and I know I'd hate myself if I didn't try, the same way I still remember my most embarrassing moment and torture myself with it.

So I called the one person that I can rely on to help me out.

Its odd. I know only a few people in Santa Fe and Albuquerque, and the people I spend the most time with are my parents. I can't depend on my parents. I've said this before, but they don't emotionally support me. They're not there for me. Sometimes, when I'm really depressed, I think the reason that I'm so screwed up is because I have no basis for my life. The foundation that parents can give a kid is completely absent. I can begin or finish anything in my life.

So anyway, I called this guy, and he said he would do what he could to help me. He would drive from Albuquerque to Santa Fe to help me out.

He may not be able to help me. It's possible that he simply can't do it in time. But darn it, he'll try for me.

There's only two other people that I can think of that would try something like that for me, and I know that Elliott can't jump on an airplane a month before his wedding, and the other one I know doesn't have access to a video camera.

So maybe it will get in and maybe not. Most likely it will be too late, but I suddenly have this overwhelming need to try. To have tried. To be rejected or approved and not that vast middle ground of not caring and not being cared about.

Update: Eh, it's not going to happen. We couldn't find a camera.

So now the dreams of what could have been are officially gone. I'm too sad about it all to cry. It's all my fault, but I don't want it to be.

Back when I was lying, crying after having been hit by the car, and the police officer came in and told me that it wasn't my fault and everything was going to be okay? This is the opposite of that. Ah so.

What a stupid thing to be upset about, isn't it. I shouldn't be upset, I should be grateful that I lived through the car crash, that my family loves me, and that my brother survived Iraq and will survive it again. I should be upset about . . . something big. Not that there are big things in my life that I can think of.

In Final Fantasy, there are save points, and if you screw up, you can go back and try again. Where's the save point for real life, anyway?

Update 2: Over on the other side of this blog, someone actually posted a comment, and asked my what I thought they (I'm assuming the producers of the Real World) want to see. My answer became much longer than I expected, and I thought it was interesting, so I'm reproducing it here:

What do they want to see from me?

Well, first I'd explain the neck brace, and that because of it I'm out of shape and very sober. I'd allude to the fact that I am both better looking and a heavier drinker when I don't have a fractured C-2 vertebrae.

Then, I'd do my best to try to convince them that I'm a little bit lonely and and looking for friends. Perhaps I've been a little sheltered. I have big ideas, and I don't quite understand people that don't think the same way that I do. I want to be placed in a situation where I rely on the people that surround me, but I can be expected to cause lots of friction due to my almost naive belief that I really should speak my mind first, and think second.

Maybe I'd throw in a bit about how poor my family is, so that money will be an issue (even though I'll still wear my Abercrombie & Fitch jacket and designer t-shirts, which in reality I only have one pair of that my mother bought me). In conjunction, I might allude to a certain distance between my mother and myself, so that those teary calls home will only further dramatacize my situation, and my pleas for help will be met with a "You got yourself into this mess" response.

Even the fracture would have been a selling point. I'm recovering from a life-threatening injury, and I've been cooped up for months. Can I readjust to life in a new situation, or is that going to be too tough for me?

I see part of this opportunity as something of a writing challenge. On a reality show, its not so much the real person as the character, and characters need plot lines.

That's what I think they want to see, the potential for plot. If I was looking for characters, I would do exactly what they do, which is to find characters that fit certain moulds and cast them to create drama. The last few seasons have pretty consistently been:

1. One laid back straight guy that has abs from here to who knows where. Shirt off scenes a must. He'll have to drink, and he'll want to hook up. A current girlfriend with whom to be conflicted upon later is a possibility but not a requirement.

2. The jock with huge muscles and a fairly limited mindset. Can be black or perhaps Hispanic. Shirt off scenes a must, as is being uncomfortable around homo eroticism. Conservative or neo-conservative can be one of their traits.

3. Gay guy. Limited inhibition required. The desire to socialize (i.e. drink) with straight friends required. A few seasons back they had an older recovering alcoholic gay guy as a roommate, which turned out to be a disaster because his storyline (the ex-alcoholic thing) was both boring and AA meetings don't allow cameras. The gay thing was controversial, but only for two episodes. It was almost a lost character.

4. The Southern belle or princess is the girl from a lower upper class background or similar. This girl is fashionable, and has a boyfriend, so that later after a few kisses with an available heterosexual male she can call him crying. She's resistant to new ideas, but only because she's unfamiliar with them. May or may not be a drama queen.

5. The emotional girl. She wants to get her way, but can't see that her emotional problems will necessarily lead to pain and suffering on her way. Medical problems are not required, but are helpful. These problems are despite the fact that she is still thin and relatively pretty, so eating disorders are not unheard of.

6. There's usually a minority that overlaps with some of the familiar characteristics, but may be considered "new" to the MTV crowd. Latinos are underrepresented on MTV, for example, but it could be of any racial or religious background so long as it doesn't preclude pre-marital sex and drinking.

That's only six characters, and a cast is typically seven, so they often double up roles. I haven't seen much of the current season, but I seem to remember that there are two black conservative guys. Last season, it was two laid back guys. A few seasons back they had two gay guys (one of whom was also the black guy).

Once they've found the cast, the thing should write itself. I've always wanted to be involved with that sort of thing, and I don't know why. Maybe to see if I'd come off well, or to see if I could handle it. Maybe secretly I just want to be close to the laid back guy with the great abs.

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Saturday, November 11, 2006

Writing and Religion

My first impulse after seeing Slacktivist link to Patrick Nielsen Hayden (I check to make sure I've spelled that right) was to run over to their blog "Making Light" and to post a comment to every single entry on the front page.

You see, Patrick Nielsen Hayden is the guy that heads up the Science Fiction/Fantasy side of Tor. When I submitted a few weeks ago (months really, I suppose), my manuscript was addressed to him. Otherwise, I probably wouldn't have recognized his name. Just to be sure though, I checked and his wife Teresa is listed on the site with him.

There are numerous things about this that shouldn't surprise me. First, they're also the people that maintain the Tor page, so of course they're technologically literate. Why wouldn't they have a blog? They're writers, or at least they work in a literary field, so that's another reason to have a blog.

They're also liberal Christians (apparently), which also shouldn't surprise me. This is America after all, so the chances are they're going to be Christian, and there have to be some liberal Christians somewhere in America.

All of this does in fact surprise me. I'm now embarrassed that I didn't think to Google their names when I found them out. I'm surprised that they're Christians, and I'm almost shocked that a blog that I've been reading for a year or more just suddenly links to someone who's name I recognize out of the blue.

Despite all this shock and awe, I haven't yet posted anything on their blog. I will, when I see something that I may be able to contribute to, but I'll try to let the drunk and bubbly feeling dissipate so that I don't say something stupid. I probably will anyway, but I'll certainly try to sound intelligent. My hopes of being a published writer haven't gone away, despite the voice in my head that clearly points out that they're not going to offer me a book deal just from posting on their website.

Darn the anonymity of the internet. I wish I could get to know them. Describe in detail all the work and effort, not to mention blood, sweat and vertebrae that I've put into my story. Tell them that I have a plan to market and brand me to a mainstream audience, and that I should be able to make it work. I wish they could see the fire in my eyes when I describe the universe that I see behind my eyes, and tell them that they'd probably get along well with Jonathan.

But enough of that. No sense wishing for something that isn't going to happen until the advent of the Kyaran.

Slactivist's article (linked above) really got me thinking about religion.

I'm not a "new atheist." I don't think that religion is either unnecessary or inherently and unequivocally evil. You know why? Because in human history, some of the best things in the world have come out of religion.

Look at the Taj Mahal, and the Pyramids. The Sistine Chapel and Mozart's Concertos. Even today, I can point to great things that religion is doing. The structure of organized religion makes them the ideal candidates to do charitable work around the globe, for instance. Atheists have nothing even close, because we don't have a structure, and we don't have the resources (people) to distribute the assistance where it's needed.

Not everything good is from religion. There's a lot of bad things that have come out of religion too. Ignorance is the first one that comes to mind, followed by the crusades, the factionalization of groups, and George W. Bush. They don't need to be linked. You know what I'm talking about.

The most important idea to me is to recognize what the good things are, versus the bad things. It doesn't matter where the original idea or object comes from, it needs to be looked at in context.

What do we find out when we do this? That abstinence-only sex education doesn't work. That the world was not created 6000 years ago. That condoms are vitally important to the survival of sub-Saharan Africa. That going to church makes people happier, more well-adjusted, and gives them stronger ties to the community. That the existence of gay marriage makes gay people happy and has no impact on straight marriage. That religious fundamentalism is a bad thing, and that militant atheism may be no better if it doesn't address social and moral problems.

That doesn't mean that I'm going to walk into church the day after tomorrow. But it means that I understand when 75% of the country does (I made that statistic up, incidentally, don't quote me).

Now, obviously there are things that are gray, and they need to be constantly re-evaluated. The existence of God is gray, for instance. It keeps some very scary Christians from murdering their family, but on the other hand, some people murder their families because they think that God is telling them to do this. I've made up my mind on the issue of God. That's fine for me, but I can't push that on someone else. Atheist or not, the existence of God is one of those great questions of life.

And don't get me wrong, I don't believe in God, I'm a strong atheist. I think that when you pray, you're not talking to God, because there is no such being. But I do think that praying can help you. It calms you down, it allows you to examine something by your own moral framework, and it sorts the thoughts in your head out. So, we might disagree why prayer is helpful, but I still won't complain when you want to go to church.

All of this, the questions, the tolerance, and the respect, is very necessary to our survival. We can't become complacent, because more and more of us are learning how to create world ending weapons: Nukes, hatred, and pop stars.

So, no, I'm not a new atheist. I'm a strong atheist, but not what Wired called a new one. If that's new, we're in trouble, because it's not going to help us. If we can't recognize the good things, then we're going to have serious problems getting along, and building on each other's weaknesses.

Since I started this off talking about editors, I should have a strong ending for this in case they ever read it. I don't though, other than saying:

We all have different strengths. There are no perfect beings, so we need to learn how to see the truth of the matter and recognize that.

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Election Update: Sex

Sigh, this is another explicit language warning. If you are related to me in any way, please stop reading here. There's some election analysis below, go look at that.

It's what, four hours after my last post, and I've been thinking about it. You know what it's missing? Sex. After all, having been sitting in the same room for a month, I've been pretty starved out.

Which is bizarre, because I don't think I usually starve for sex. I mean, I don't sleep around at all. If anything I want to sleep around more. I'd like to generally be more slutty, and by not being slutty, I feel like I've missed out.

I hit on this when I realized that I was hitting porn heavy the last couple of nights. I don't pay for it. I like the challenge and the effort involved in hunting around for the short clips and tacking them together. I really should just join a site, but I know that I'd probably get bored to quick. The sites are all so specific. What if I like a general selection of hot guy of various ages and body types? So hunting is the norm.

But I really hadn't intended being as . . . er, consumptive as I was. I mean, at one point I had 10 files downloading for nearly an hour. Each clips takes 2 to 3 minutes to load, so I was really busy, click click click.

Okay, now that we've explored my "viewing" habits, I'm going to embarrass myself even more. Let's explore the straight guys that I love.

Okay, first off is the biggy. There's a guy from college that I still dream about. If you've known me in the last four years, you probably know what sport he plays. I talk talk talk about him, don't I? I still dream about him.

The weird thing is, my dreams are awfully domestic about him. If I ever want to be a girl, it's just for him. I'd work out, I'd dye my hair blond. I'd do a heck of a lot to be with him, and even then I don't think that he'd be interested. As a guy, I can be an intellectual, but if I was a girl, I'd be way to smart to be attractive.

There's some other bizarre parts of the dreams surrounding this guy too. The animal dreams, for instance. Not bestiality, but I used to dream of turning into a house cat or a snake (retaining my intelligence, of course) and tracking him down so that I could live with him. In the actual dream, I remember that I was the snake, and I was stuck in that form. While I'm awake, I usually go for a were-snake or were-kitten form so that I can be human and sleep as a fuzzy bundle in his bed.

Okay, yeah, I know that's screwed, but you're telling me that you're not screwy somehow?

There's also the bizarre fact that quite aside from the twisted animal dream above, I can remember sleeping with him. I was in that college still but I'd left him in the dust, and I had this vivid dream. Really vivid. Way too vivid and real.

Crap, I love him and hate him. If he ever got a girl pregnant, I'd claim paternity to protect him. That's how much I still love him. I'd basically ruin my life for him.

Now there's a lot of other straight guys. I mean, that I like. There aren't any more that I would kill for. The intellectual guy, and the co-worker (not you Rob). Crap. I'm gay, why can't you be gay?

I had a conversation with Oscar in which I told him that I don't understand heterosexuality. I don't. It doesn't make the least bit of sense. I like you, why don't you like me? I have these deep primal feelings that are at the core of my emotional reaction that tell me that you're the ones that I'm supposed to be pursuing. Why don't you have the same feelings? The intellectual guy is a good example right now. He's gorgeous, smart (hence, the nickname) and straight. Damn him. Damn the universe. It's not ever like it's some that I can go do, like cut my hair or wear a suit, he's just fundamentally not interested in me.

I wish I could convince him to experiment.

Now, I'm thinking that Evan was bi. If you know an English major at UNM named Evan, tell him that he was gorgeous. Forget the jeep and the skateboard, I wish I'd been a little less closed off. I was interested. I just thought you were straight, and I go way out of my way to make my straight friends comfortable with me.

So I lied, and I told you I wasn't interested, but there were hints that you were interested in me. People don't hang out with me, usually. I feel like a pariah because sometimes I think that Elliot and R. are the only people that have kept in touch with me. You hung out with me, and I didn't understand that at the time. Now I think I do, even though I still don't know exactly what you saw in someone as out of shape as me when you are so gorgeous. You hear that, Evan? I thought not.

Who else? The guy who I stalked in my movie classes. I hope you didn't drop out because of me. You were just the prettiest guy I'd seen in a while, and I just latched on. Sorry.

The warrior's boyfriend. You were tall dark and handsome. I hope you did well and the high jump. Somewhere, I think I still have the stuffed animal named after you. It's pretty funny that I had a nickname for you and that I wasn't scared to tell the warrior about it. And you didn't avoid me, which was odd at the time.

There's all the actors too, all the straight parts in movies that I don't get, but they don't matter, they're not real (except Neil Patrick Harris, he's real now). Everyone else is fading into a haze of memory.

Except one last guy. I terrified you. You didn't understand me, and I couldn't be touched because of who and what I am. You were the one with the huge biceps and the girlfriend from my floor, and you were the one terrified of me. I've never scared anyone before, but not being afraid of you made me powerful. I could taunt you. I could stalk you, and it was bliss.

I'm coming back, reviewing everything that I wrote, and decided that Elliot should end. You know how long I considered it? That fifteen minutes before you told me that you weren't gay. Thank your God for that, because you're a damn good friend, and I needed to know that right up front and I need to remember that more often. You're not straight to me dude, you're so much more than that. Granted, you're not one of the gay guys that ignores me either. You're something else again.

And here's the real end of this: if you think that one of these is you, ask me. I'll tell you. You think that I'm afraid of you?

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Election 2006

Okay, first off, I'm already slightly wrong. My prediction here has not come true. I am no prophet, because things are changing.

But not really.

I was talking with my dad today about my fervent fever dream for America . . . a parliament.

Did you know that the 45 Democrat Senators represent more people than the 54 Republican Senators? Those statistics are for the Senate before the election, of course, and since that's done with, I'm not going to try to find the source for this again. The point still holds though, ours is not a representational government. The same is true for the House, though not to the same extent. Of course, in the House, the Democrats typically get a higher percentage of the vote in the districts that they win.


So, due to the structure of our democracy, the people in power have no reason to make any changes, but let's talk about my idea anyway.

I have no idea what the real definition of "parliament" is, but, let me give you my definition:

A parliamentary house is a house that gives seats by a popular vote. This doesn't mean that you have a specific candidate when you vote. There is no person for your district with their name on the ballot. Instead of voiting for a person, you vote for a party.

Like, I would vote for the Gay Atheist Psuedo-Socialist Libertarian Party (yes, I realize the inherant contradiction in there). My mother would vote the Liberal Old Person Party. My brother would vote for the Marines Against Stupidity Party.

Now, you'd look at the total number of votes for each party nationally. Let's say that the GAPSL party gets 2 million votes. The LOP Party gets 3 million votes. The MAS Party gets 2.5 million votes. So, out of 15 seats, the gays would get 4, the old people would get 6, and the marines get 5.

Now, no party has a controlling majority, but obviously the old people have the upper hand. They form a coalition government by negotiating with the other parties, and select a Prime Minister from their party.

Now, if you want to get something done, you have to negotiate. The gays want to legalize gay marriage? The marines would probably object to that, but if the old people agree, then it'll pass. The marines want to invade another country? The gays would object, but if the old people agree then we're going to invade.

But, if the old people want to increase taxes to 50% income to pay for old people medication, the gays and the marines can join together and vote against them.

This means no more two party system, because nearly any opinion would be represented. If you're a economic liberal who only objects to abortion, you can vote for the democratic pro-life party. If you're a gay person that believe in (Goldwater/Reagan) conservative values, you don't have to vote against your own self interest by voting for the Republicans.

Granted, there will still be corruption, but watching the election coverage, I can still dream that some day I'll have some actual representation.

Also, I found something that I have to laugh at, even though it should be scary. At first look, this is a joke. I mean, could anyone really believe some of that stuff? But it's real. Poe's law, named after someone I've met at CF, states that an extreme satire cannot be distinguished from the real thing.

I have to quote one thing from Mr. Steele (emphasis his):

We can all work on purging the Republican Party of homos after this election is won. Right now we need to ensure that Republicans retain control of Congress. I shouldn’t need to remind anyone that we are still engaged in a war against Islamofacists who want to kill us. The Republicans are the only ones equipped to stand up to the terrorists and to keep us alive and I think you know that.

I mean, I may be gay, but at least I still live in the real world, right? I have something to tell Mr. Steele. We're undetectable, and you're never going to get rid of us.

One other thing: Steven Colbert is a genius.

Finally, I got my new wireless desktop, which probably doesn't sound like much, but for means that I can write again without having to put a huge strain on my neck. I'll still have to take it easy, but it means that I really have a lot more freedom than I had before. I can post blog entires again.

That's kind of exciting for me. I'm not limited just to reading anymore.

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