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Posts Tagged ‘Cheap_PyschoAnalysis’


SearchlightTake a moment to consider the gravity of the word event — it has a sort of uplifting weightiness to it, doesn’t it? In the best terms it implies anticipatory elation, the onset of something long awaited. The word is still relevant today, of course, but within the context of retrospect it feels diminished and aged, like Bob Hope movies on weekday afternoons, or crumbled bleu cheese in your fancy salad; it looks moldy but it’s actually not.

For those of you above the tender age of, say, thirty, you might remember some of this stuff; if you’re mid-forties and above you will remember . . .

Remember Evel Knievel and his hyped up jumps? Lots of spectacle and showmanship — each one an event full of drama, and often a bent and broken Knievel.We still had our favortie TV shows and other distractions, but these jumps were almost guilty pleasures back then.

How about Star Wars when it first appeared in theaters . . . or Jaws? Those were the movies to see, often multiple times. Star Wars had so captivated the imagination of moviegoers that lines stretched around buildings for months while it played. The impact of Jaws played out on beaches everywhere — people were literally afraid to go in the water . . . not just a few people, but lots of people.

As a kid, the circus coming to town was a big deal. People used actual cameras with color film, then took them to any number of stores to have them processed, which took days. Just getting the pictures back was a mini-event in itself, allowing you to relive the moments captured forever on celluloid.

Concerts were, and to a degree still are, events. But the acts aren’t as hugely anticipated from what I can tell. Back in the day you had weeks of build up before it happened. Now there’s a couple radio spots and probably a website, certainly a Facebook page dedicated to it.

Remember going to a record store and browsing through rows and rows of albums? Remember what a big deal album art could be? That’s long gone since the advent of CDs. Now a movie comes out more as a precursor to its release in retail outlets than as a true event, Deathly Hallows 2 notwithstanding.

Our entire entertainment culture has shifted from one that used to be a shared, almost communal experience, to a fragmented encounter of individualism. We have smartphones and tablet PCs now that bring those same movies into the palms of our hands. We don’t have to go and breathe the same air as 200 other people in a cineplex. And how about that . . . remember real movie theaters, with huge screens and could seat hundreds of people at a time? We’d see cheesy disaster movies like Towering Inferno or Airport ’77 on those screens, or comedies like Smokey and the Bandit and Cannonball Run. Hell, now we can, if we choose, have almost as big a screen as those in the cineplexes installed in our homes with a nice surround-sound unit and HD projector and we can have buttered popcorn and snacks in the comfort and convenience of our living rooms.

“Events” are dramatized for us because we have become somewhat desensitized to their prior effects. Look at how wildly popular competition shows are — American Idol, Dancing With The Stars, So You Think You Can Dance?, etc. They work in an element of audience, even viewing audience participation, which heightens the drama for the next night. That next evening’s program then becomes the event. We need to be goaded into coming back . . . sorta. We could always go online immediately afterward to find out who won, right?

Sometimes I feel like our youth today are somehow cheated by not being able to experience events as they were when we were kids. But the reality is that their events are different than ours. Their world is faster and exponentially more complex that ours was. They are the Digital Generation and most of them can’t possibly conceive of how draconian things were “back in the day.”

I have a small iPod and a Kindle, but I still prefer to read books in the traditional book format. I ‘get’ the convenience of an e-reader but feel I’m missing an important component of the reading experience when reading off a screen. I am part of the Digital Transition. I grew up with Atari and Coleco Vison, Commodore 64 and Pong. I bought vinyl records but embraced CDs when they arrived. I owned a 4-head, hi-fi VCR when they were just coming out. I understand the functional revolution I participated in, but I never saw what lay over the horizon. The gap between then and now is staggering.

Perhaps it’s best if I remember events not so much as long lost, but as endeared to me as only each one could be for me. Maybe, ultimately, each event is what I made it — an attachment of fondness I have for those moments as opposed to a societal gestalt of passing culture.

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Food Sex EsteemSex and hunger go hand-in-hand, right? Let’s not forget thirst. Before you get red-faced or develop that feeling of awkwardness allow me to clarify: I allude to the diminishment of life sustaining resources . . . you pervs. Must it always be something sexual with you?

I was doing a little research on historical reference dating when I happened upon this word: malthusian. It has a certain solidity to it, an eloquence arising from some ethereal sort of mysticism — and honestly, I didn’t know its meaning.

~adjective
of or pertaining to the theories of T. R. Malthus, which state that population tends to increase faster, at a geometrical ratio, than the means of subsistence, which increases at an arithmetical ratio, and that this will result in an inadequate supply of the goods supporting life unless war, famine, or disease reduces the population or the increase of population is checked.

For those of you who like an crisp summary without all the meaningful detail this word should be one of your immediate favorites because it says so much in 10 letters—basically, keep your libido in check or we shall all assuredly starve. That goes double for those of you at the shallow end of the gene pool or in backwoods trailer parks; you know the ones, just past the hollar, down by the crick.

If I’ve lost you already then it may be time to cradle that beer in one hand and fixate on NASCAR. Oh! That reminds me of a classic riddle — Do you know why rednecks prefer doggystyle?

Give up?

Because that way they both can watch NASCAR.

I told you it was a classic.

Imagine the strains on energy resources, agricultural and ecosystem resources. For some perspective, have you ever been in line at the movie theater concession counter and waited 15 minutes or more only to find out the dick in front of you bought the last box of Raisinets? What if your date loves Raisinets and you come back with something lame like Milk Duds . . . guess who ain’t gettin’ any that night?

Or how about the same scenario at a ballpark. You wait in line, behind a bunch of Yankee or Dodger fans, drunk on their own inflated sense of athletic dysfunction, only to get up to the counter (finally!) and be told “The guy in front of you got the last side of nacho cheese. Sorry, we’re all out.” You return to your cheap seats and your date says “Where’s the nachos?” as you sheepishly hand over the reeking garlic fries — which happen to be very good, by the way!

Think you’re scoring that night? Think again.

See the problem? Overpopulation leads to a distressing amount of competition for food. This affects not only your stomach but also greatly extends your personal ‘drought’.

Can you imagine the sheer societal havoc to be had if overpopulation lead to a shortage of beer or wine? Do you really want to see that in your lifetime? I didn’t think so!

Now go forth and contemplate the potentially brutal dynamics of our very existence as seen through the sobering goggles of T.R. Malthus.

Nobody better lay a finger on my Butterfinger!

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Soul Mates painting by Rahul MalpaniMythology is rich with allusion to the bond men and women share. Many cultures have myths depicting an initial male/female pairing which produced mankind. In others, such as some Hindu myths, man and woman are initially one entity, not so much human as an essence, which eventually splits in two—those two halves wind up in a life long search for one another to attain the completeness they once shared.

Ever had that feeling after seeing, or just being in a persons presence, that there is something deeper that resonates more than you could possibly describe? A yin to your yang? Moon to your sky?

Greek mythology tells us of Orpheus, a man who so loved his wife that he traveled into the underworld to petition Hades, god of the underworld, for the release of her soul. Orpheus, perhaps the best lyre player in the Greek pantheon, was said to have learned his skill for playing the lyre from Apollo. It is told that as he played for Hades the normally immovable god was moved to tears. So enchanted was he that Orpheus was granted his wife’s release, but only upon one condition: he could not look back to see if she was following until they had completely exited. Orpheus, during the arduous trek back to the entrance, had plenty of time to convince himself that Hades was tricking him. He kept his eyes forward until almost the very moment he reached the exit, but having not heard or received any sort of sign his beloved was behind him he turned to look behind, only to see his love be dragged back into the underworld forever.

We’ve all felt that at some point, right? That tragic heartbreak. Each of us, at some level, knows that gut wrenching feeling that feeds on an almost never ending series of questions and self-doubt—What if I would have not said a word? What if I had remained calm? Why didn’t I act differently? Orpheus’ loss is perhaps a direct metaphor for our own regrets.

Carl Jung believed that later in life, once we are past young adulthood, we spend the remainder of our lives trying to understand, to get in touch with, our unconscious, that we make choices based upon this drive to become more familiar with a part of us we know little about. Is that place where our better halves reside? Why do they seem so utterly elusive?

A fascinating correlation, and certainly not anything resembling an answer—this very connection Jung attributes to the inner part of one’s personality is known as the animas for men, the animus for women. It is possibly the deepest part of us, the very core of what we strive to understand and connect with; for men, our feminine side, our animas; for women, their masculine side, their animus. Perhaps this very concept is why an individual so deeply resonates with us. Perhaps they are most closely connected to our core than others.

The question then seems to be: Are they—our soul mate, if you will—impossible to find? Should we simply settle for something good instead of great?

Or are they—as I believe—simply within reach and waiting for our touch, and we for theirs.

Contemporary romanticism or fallacious mythology?

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I’m a creature of routine. I need a common structure that I can keep a mental grasp of. As of late, however, I’ve become acutely aware of a creeping restlessness. Sure, baseball season is gearing up, I’ve all kinds of work to do in support of my book, the economy is in the toilet, and I got selected to sit on a jury. I’ve plenty to keep me busy, no arguement there.

Outside of the economy (can you believe AIG had the balls to pay out over $100 million in bonuses from bailout funds—and in case you weren’t aware, those funds come from you and I, the taxpayers) I’ve got enough going to realistically stretch my typical routine, which is a good thing. Pushing the boundaries of comfort once in a while helps us to keep our edge.

But its not that which bothers me—it’s more to do with the daily grind, the making-ends-meet, pleasing “the man”, being owned feeling that has drawn the sun behind the clouds. Don’t misconstrue my discontent with being ungrateful—in this economy I’m damned fortunate to have full-time employment. Yet I can’t plausibly refute that my hands have gone cold because my insides are slowly going numb.

Perhaps you thought it odd that I mentioned jury duty. I know a lot of folks go to great lengths to avoid having to serve. Personally, I find the process intriguing . . .and a welcome change.

Fourteen individual souls, all selected by attorneys who look for the best outcome from a set of potentially like-minded citizens—yet we’re as different as we are ‘like-minded’. Within the perceived discord runs a signature of harmony.

Every day of trial I rise and finally look forward to the day, because I know my thoughts and actions have real meaning now. There’s no superficiality in my efforts, no profit to be gained, no re-work to be done. Within the bounds of the judicial system I matter. My—and my fellow jurists—opinions truly matter. The laws of man apply to our considerations of fact, while the immutable laws of God guide our collective conscience.

I’m steeped in change that has worth, if only temporarily. It doesn’t pay as well as being an indentured automaton, but it’s far more rewarding. I’m caught in a different machine and my every effort involves absorbing all I can. Senses are coming alive at the new things that surround me: new faces, new voices, the surroundings and altogether different feel of downtown. Again, if only for the short term, this is the kind of change I’ve needed; a salve for the drudgery of the everyday pox. I find it analagous to writing—my actions, my words, have an impact that means more than a bottom line or a shareholders opinion. Here, in this thin existence between duty and debtor, I am human . . .expected to be nothing more, nothing less.

That’s a change that’s refreshing beyond the paint of mere words.

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I’ve been thinking about this all day, well okay, not all day, but it’s been floating there within my nebulous conscious self. There is a young lady by the name of Emily who maintains a blog titled SlightlyIgnorant (it’s on my Blogroll on the right). She’s written some wonderful posts that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed, and she has fostered a loyal, if small, following [by comparison the number who read my blog is infitesimal!].

Yesterday she posted something in the vein of “what kind of superpowers would you have . . .” So, dear reader, here’s my comment to her blog post:

PLEASE NOTE: This comment is in no way a negative criticism of Emily’s post, so don’t even think I’m baggin’ on her!

I am struck by something which seems to be some sort of latent universal truth . . . you can write about most anything: heartbreak, birth, death, strife, whatever. People will comment here and there. But write about having super powers and people come out of the woodwork. We Americans are fascinated by the concept of a human being possessing some other-worldly power which the rest of us regular folk will never have. We seem compelled to indulge in irrational fantasies about the good we could do (or surreptitious pleasure we could experience) with such a gift.

We love our heroes because they showcase all that’s good about ourselves. I believe the majority of us are innately good and we want to believe in the ultimate good of humanity.

Winston Churchill once said that “democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those others that have been tried.” We love our super heroes not because of their fantastical powers (but they’re fun, of course). We love them because they embody the virtues of freedom that we all enjoy as Americans. They manifest all that’s good about the natural rights of man. They long to be us, and we them.

And so ends my ponderance for today. There are certainly worse things I could have thought about.

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It wasn’t the best of weekends. Sure, I enjoyed the time I spent with my son. I always do. Dad drove an hour-and-a-half up from Tucson to watch the SuperBowl with us. We’re not, by any stretch of the imagination, big football fans, but the local boys were playing in it, our own Arizona Cardinals. The mere fact they made it to the big show was amazing enough, and all the more reason to watch it (well, besides the commericals, of course). I think all three of us would almost certainly rather have been sitting at the ballpark watching the Diamondbacks, but when in Rome . . .

Now for what in television parlance is called a “jumpcut” — As necessary and challenging as any work or job can be, the constant wear and tear of unending demands and drop-your-life expectations takes its toll eventually. Seems there’s always some fire that needs tending to, some project that can’t plausibly wait until the week because the clients gravely need their data on the weekend, even though they’ve many times only given it to us on Friday evening. But that’s out of our control and the way the industry works. It had been some time since I can recall genuinely having a full weekend off without having to worry about such interruptions.

This past weekend was supposed to be one of those. As usual, it turned into a fresh steaming pile of s*** with an unruly quickness.

The boy and I had been at the park practicing baseball—that part I enjoyed. Each of us worker bees has a company-issued Satan’s Leash that we’re required—presumably by State employment law (yes, I’m being facetious, but it’s not too far from the truth)—to keep on our personage at all times, excepting those times when we’re cleared to sleep. Naturally some project from earlier in the week blew up (more on that in a moment) and since I was the only one who had the slightest inkling about it then I was the go-to guy . . . soon to be whipping boy. Didn’t matter the least that I was supposed to have the weekend off. I’m on the payroll, it’s that simple. As such, the call came and I had no choice but to heed it.

Dad had driven up from Tucson solely to spend some time with us, and I got to talk to him for all of five minutes. Who needs time like that when you can spend quality time with a client? (This is hardly the first time this has happened, hence my rant. It’s my blog, I can rant if I want to!)

So now you have the set up, a little discordant background music to enhance the reading experience.

The project wasn’t helped in the least due to my misunderstanding of the workings of the software being used. I wasn’t the only chef stirring the pot, but I’d been the last one at the stove. To say things didn’t go well would be about as appropriate as saying John McClane had a bad day in any of the Die Hard movies. You get the gist.

So the project was more monkeyed than I originally thought, absolutely aided by my ill-advised minstrations. None of us had set out to achieve such a piss-poor outcome. I got the brunt of the backlash because I was the last in line. The powers-that-be had placed all faith in me to know what the f*** I was doing, and as it turns out, I didn’t. So without further detail, I felt really bad about the results. Had I been of clearer understanding I could have made the necessary adjustments, and would still have taken heat but there would have been a tiny modicum of grace in the end.

Hell, who wants grace when you can put a gun to your head and spin the chambers? Grace . . . that’s for pussies.

I spent a fair part of the next day getting schooled about what went wrong, what was said, what shouldn’t have been said, what should have been done, etc. Days like that I feel like my stack of concerns is already one too many high, and I think we’ve all been there. It’s the least bit of fun any human should have. I let everything seep into every pore, absorbing every bit of fault and blame for something that should have gone much more smoothly. I’m just a lowly pawn in the overall scheme, but I hadn’t played chess that well in high school either. I worried and allowed myself to wade naked into the cesspool of angst.

And on top of all that, I learned about halfway through the day that my boss’s father had quite unexpectedly passed away. I felt bad for him, too.

Guilt, shame, concern, loss, anger, frustration. The mere thought of losing credibility assuredly leads to a deeper resolve (eventually), but in the overcast moments during the storm it’s like standing in a dust storm—there’s no direction you can turn where it doesn’t sting

I stewed most all day and into the early evening. Then I get a call from one of my co-workers. He was kinda checkin’ up on me. We talked for quite some time, mostly about work matters. Slowly the conversation turned to matters of faith and life in general. I didn’t know it at that moment, but deep within I had just peeked around the corner. I still felt like I had a better grasp on things when I stayed in the shadows, but damn if the view around that corner didn’t beckon me. We spoke of souls and why we’re here and speculated on where we were going. Suddenly, all the stuff I’d been fretting about seemed dwarfed, even stupid, by comparison. It was work, deserving of my attention and best efforts when I’m there, certainly, but it wasn’t life. I’d allowed it to overtake me, which is something of a huge flaw of mine.

So we hung up, and I hopped online to read a few blogs: SlightlyIgnorant, Good, Bad, and Ugly, WTF, and Ugly Ass Opinion. I laughed out loud, I smiled, I commented on a couple. It had the added value of completely removing me from my prior stupor. These are people every bit as real as you and I, people who have opinions, frustrations, heartbreaks, and say some of the strangest things . . . but it’s real folks. It has meaning beyond how much money we can make for someone else. It has perspective and color. It has humanity. Something lacking in other aspects of our daily lives.

So I finished up my reads and got ready for bed. I trod barefoot upon the carpet to my bedroom, turning out the lights as I went. The instant I sat on the edge of the bed my epiphany happened . . . it’s only work! I still retain my usual desire to pay attention to detail and get the job done the best I can, but you know what, it doesn’t—dammit, it shouldn’t—be part of every f***ing waking moment of every day of my life. I don’t have all the pressures and headaches that upper management has—nor do I have the juicy payday that comes with it. They’ve all worked hard to get where they’re at, and they all accept the positions they’re in and respond accordingly. My time is theirs when I’m on their clock.

My life is not, when I’m off the clock.

So, thanks to my co-worker, and some faceless folks who like to write too, I’m doing much better on the second day.

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Write, dammit, write!” If I turn my eyes inside my head I can see all those ideas scrambling to and fro, tiny little arms curled around a staggering array of letters and punctuation symbols. They carry the multitude of first words, potential lead sentences, miniscule children of their own vainly trying to make the exit leading down to my fingertips.

But there’s some conspiratorial misdirection going on somewhere—they keep colliding with one another. Atomic showers of san-serif and handwritten fonts fly into the cerebral passageways, a fine alphabetical mist.

Some of the ideas just lay there, stubbornly refusing to get up. Others scurry about, trying to recollect all their precious letters, many times rearranging them or pilfering letters from another sabotaged idea and making new sentences. Then they’re off again to attempt the treacherous pathway to the unmoving fingers.

Move, damn you, move!” I berate my fingers for doing everything in their power not to type. They hover or caress the keyboard in flagrant disobedience. They nudge it this way or that. They reach for the drink at my side, not because I’m thirsty, but because it keeps them from impacting the keys. They truly want to type . . . I want to write, something . . . anything. I spend more time fruitlessly fighting over what to say than actually saying it.

Sigh.

But every once in a while, one of my almost imperceptibly tiny idea friends completes his or her trip to my fingertips. And I’m always glad to see them.

“Hello,” I quietly say. “I think you know how much I appreciate your persistence.”

My idea looks back and me, and with a knowing smile says “Shut up and write, fool!”

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