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Sep. 8th, 2010

08:37 am - Even more

So, in my last post I mentioned that Singlesnet generates a lot of spam accounts based in Nigeria. They're fairly similar in profile. White, between 4'8" - 5'8", Catholic, blond or red hair, professional job with a title near the beginning of the alphabet (accounting is quite popular). Usually they don't have pictures. Almost never have pictures. Until now. Today I got a picture of a fairly tall, African-American woman but her profile claims that she's 4'5", white, red hair. I mean, if you're gonna go so far as to include a picture, find a picture and then write the profile to match!

Sep. 7th, 2010

04:50 pm - crankwhore

Crankwhore: a real username on Said profile was just recommended to me. Earlier, I got a message from babydollvampire. Her short message made it quite clear she's looking for a fuck buddy and she included her phone number. I didn't reply.

Someone suggested I sign up with singlesnet in addition to I am not impressed.

Aug. 28th, 2010

02:08 pm - Because it needs to be said...

I've talked before about the difference between being a "Christian nation" and being "a nation based in Western, Judeo-Christian, Protestant, Anglo-American culture and made up primarily of Christians." This is a distinction that is lost upon a growing number of Americans; lost on them because a growing number of demagogues seek to rewrite history for their own political purposes. It saddens me that I need to say such things:

Aug. 22nd, 2010

01:07 am - Even I can't keep up with it all

Okay, so, the meeting with Woman 2 didn't go so hot. While I knew she and her husband were living in the same house until the end of July, I was under the impression he'd been living in the basement for the last two years, more of a convince thing since they have two kids. No, the marriage hasn't been good for two years, but he's only been in the basement since June. She's realized she's not ready to be tied down emotionally, still dealing with too much, including being on her own with the kids. Apparently, she lived at home until she got married at 25. (It helps when you live in the same town as the state school.

So we talked, she offered friendship and maybe picking up after she's had some time to adjust and process. What they hell, right? I already figured out I'm not going to date for a while if we split up.

That was Thursday. Friday I finally get to meet with G., first time since the last week of June because she's been out of the country and/or I've been traveling or spending about 10 days in the city 50 miles away with Woman 2. Good discussion. I fill her in on things and explain why I'm not going to date for awhile.

Late Friday night I get a text from the girl, yes, the girl, the RN. She asks how I'm doing. We exchange a few texts, she asks if I'm still seeing Woman 2, I say that we'd just broken up, and she asks if I'd be willing to talk to smooth things over since things had gone bad communication wise. I said sure and asked when. She asks if then would be okay. I say sure and she asks if she could come to my place.

Long story short, she had realized she'd run back to the jerk for all the wrong reasons, fearing that since we thought I had shingles we wouldn't be able to see each other for four weeks or so and I'd end up with someone else and she didn't want to get hurt, etc. She apologized and asked if we could be friends. I asked if we could be more, saying I'd be quite happy to just start over from scratch, going out on some dates to see if we might want to be together again. We talked for hours, eventually with her curled up in my arms. As I held her, she told me she knew she'd made the wrong decision for many reasons, including the fact that when the jerk did hold her, what she really wanted was to be held by me. So, as went talked and caught up and such, we figured out we don't need to start from scratch, we'd both already figured out what we really wanted was to be with each other. All we needed was to let each other know it.

She's out for a friend's birthday right now and texted me just as I was thinking about going to bed. We were going to get together in the late morning and spend some time together before she heads out tomorrow afternoon to visit relatives, including a cousin who deploys to Afghanistan at the end of the week. She texted to ask if she could come over tonight when the birthday celebrations are over. And so I'm up because she'll be here in about an hour.

There you have it. The ache that has been the void of her missing presence for this past four weeks is gone. Of course, this may not last, but for now it feels good and right. I would have preferred a much less chaotic journey, but I figured out what I needed to figure out in terms of choosing who to be with, and I'm with her.

Aug. 18th, 2010

11:15 pm - An update

Oblivious, who I visited earlier this week, reminded me that I need to do an update. Well, he didn't remind me so much as talking with him I realized there's been a huge gap.

To pick up where we left off: More time was spent between girl and boy. Boy wakes up one morning with hugely swollen lymph node. Girl tells him to go see his doctor. Boy says he doesn't have one yet. Girl, who is an RN, tells him to correct that and go to urgent care. Doctor thinks boy has shingles. Girl can't see boy if he has shingles.

Boy goes out on his first date with someone else. It was good. Boy really misses girl, however. Second date with woman 2 and then a date with woman 3. Boy finds out he doesn't have shingles. Girl goes out of town. Boy realizes he has a problem and cancels a date with woman 4 and ends talks with other women. Things have become complex. Boy really wants to talk to girl to figure things out because boy wants to be with her.

Eventually, boy realizes girl seems to be avoiding him and then she tells him that she's gotten back with someone else. Boy is crushed but also confused because he really likes woman 2 as well. Later, boy learns girl was scared of being hurt because she liked boy so much and returned to earlier guy whom she had left because he was a jerk. Boy wants girl back but she has committed to trying relationship and is responsible like that. A clear communication breakdown. Boy realizes that trying to date multiple women has blown up in his face in a number of ways, this being the biggest and hardest of them.

Lots of other shit takes place, some good, some bad. Boy spends much time with woman 2. Much time. They like each other, although boy still hurts and longs for girl.

Eventually, woman 2 freaks out, feeling claustrophobic in relationship even though she was the one who kept asking boy to be around all the time. They kinda work things out but boy gets depressed some—not depression boy now realizes but depressed—and woman 2 has much difficulty. I won't go into all of it here but she says relationship needs to end. Only, before boy leaves, she says they can talk about it after boy returns from his trip.

Boy misses woman 2 while still missing girl as well. Woman 2 misses boy. They text and email while he travels. Tomorrow boy returns home and the two shall talk to see if they can start to work things out. Woman 2 is trying to not give mixed signals, but she slips at times. She wants boy around but isn't sure things can work out.

So, there you have it in the abridged form. (A whole lot of shit involving woman 3, who after a period of time being angry at boy, has become good friend. All of that is being passed over.) Boy's deepest anxieties deal with being left. With dating will come breakups, boy has accepted that, but boy is really struggling with breakups that take place despite the fact the woman wants a relationship with the boy. Somehow this boy keeps finding himself being left by women who claim to have strong feelings for him and would like to commit to a relationship with him but something gets in the way. Boy wonders if this is a sign of brokenness on his part. But that way leads to depressive thinking and boy can't afford that. Not with the meeting tomorrow.

All the boy knows is that if tomorrow doesn't go well, he's going to stop dating for awhile. He's doing something wrong, many things, actually. That much he knows. From talking with various people, women don't know what to make of him. Too open, honest, sincere, and intense. Barriers fall away far too quickly. They've all told him that. And it seems if he really cares for them, they reach a point where they freak and run.

Jul. 13th, 2010

10:50 pm - Hello

I was gonna write some sort of adventures in dating post but oh, what the hell.

Both therapist and G. think it's time for boy to get out and date. More importantly, boy feels like it's time to do so as well.

Talking to two friends, boy is giving to contradictory sets of advice. One says date one woman at a time, you'll know if you should move on or not. Other says date lots of women casually and get a feel for what is good for you. Boy thinks advice #2 is good but follows advice #1.

G. tries to brainstorm ways for boy to meet women to date. Boy finally decides to try

Boy signs up for and is immediately shown the profile of his almost ex-wife, only boy doesn't recognize her as his almost ex-wife, even after reading her profile and looking at multiple pictures, even though boy just saw her a week earlier when they took the cats to the vet. Boy finally figure it out and thinks, "Fuck." Boy goes on a short depression jag, takes a nap, and pulls himself out of it four hours later.

The next day, boy decides to return to and he gets a message from a girl.

Boy meets girl. Boy enjoys girl's company. Boy tells girl he enjoys her company but doesn't feel the emotional connection. Girl suggests boy stick it out a while. Boy gives it a try and stays with girl too long. Boy really likes girl and girl really likes boy, but we're talking two different kinds of like. Two months was far too long to let it go on.

Boy decides he needs to date casually, that is, follow advice #2. Boy returns to A week goes by and while boys various attempts to contact women go unanswered, a girl contacts boy. They exchange emails. They talk on the phone. They decide to meet for lunch.

During lunch, they talk about what they're looking for. Girl thinks boy is being sensible in his decision to date many women. Girl has been dating for 10 months and has had one relationship that lasted almost two months as opposed to all the other dates, which didn't go beyond a few dates. Boy has now had a date with two different women. Girl, on the other hand, has gone out with 40 or so guys. Date goes very well and they agree to two more dates, a trip to a museum followed by an outdoor Shakespeare play a few days after that.

Boy and girl meet a few days later. In the meantime he's exchanging emails with a few other women. Date goes very well. They keep spending much more time together than they plan, mostly because time flies far too quickly. (Actual exchange: Girl: What time is it? Boy: Oh, wow, it's 7:00. Girl: No, seriously, what time is it, it can't be past 5:00. Boy: No, really, it's 6:50. Time went by faster than when we had lunch. Girl: I can't believe it. It's a good sign, but I can't believe it.)

Boy and girl go to Shakespeare. They arrive two hours early and have a picnic. Boy even made ancient family recipe cake with whipped cream frosting, which turned out perfectly, btw. Girl gets cold. Boy hesitantly offers to put arm around her to see if that will help. She agrees.

The next night—a Friday—girl emails boy regarding plans they made for Sunday. She mentions that she assumes he's out. He texts her saying he's not. She comes over to watch a movie. Girl gives boy's info to her sister. Once she's there, sister calls, asks to talk to boy, and threatens to cause severe bodily harm, which will end with brutalization by a double-wide dildo if girl does not make it home safe and sound. Movie doesn't happen. Boy and girl talk. At some point they kiss and girl says, "I was wondering if you were ever going to do that. I've been waiting since our second date." Girl and boy have long discussion about dating other people, about where they're at. Girl jumps boy. Boy says he's confused. This leads to more discussion.

Boy is to date other women to figure out if he should be with girl. Girl will date other men to be sure the boy is the one she should be with. Neither will have sex with anyone else. "Well, you can if you really want to," girl says, "but I'd prefer you didn't. If you do, damn well wear a condom."

Girl cuddles boy in her sleep. She's never cuddled anyone in her sleep, including her ex-husband whom she was with for 14 years. Not only does she cuddle, when boy puts an arm around her as she sleeps, her unconscious self grabs tight to wrap said arms around her. A week goes by. Much time is spent. Much happiness is had. Girl periodically asks boy about potential dates. Boy says one intimidates him. She asks to see profile. Her response: "She's really cute and you two have so much in common." Girl clarifies that she really hopes boy chooses her but that boy needs to actually date some other women so they know whether or not she's right for him.

The next weekend, girl leaves boy's house to go to an all-day family deal which is a camping weekend/birthday party for her 10-year old godson. "If it was the other part of my family," she says, "I'd take you along, but I'm not ready to expose you to them yet and definitely not for a whole day. It's 10:00 AM and most of them are drunk by now." Girl gets talked into staying the night with her god children while their parents run off to a casino. Girl wakes up feeling like hell—sick like hell, not hungover—so boy doesn't see her Sunday. Girl is sick enough she has to cancel get together in which she was going to introduce boy to her best friend of 20 years.

Monday she goes to see a doctor. She has bronchitis and a sinus infection. She stays home and sleeps. Tuesday she goes to see a different doctor as a follow up to surgery she had a few months ago and then goes straight to work. She's been losing about 10 pounds/month for many months now. She looks great because of it, but it is a serious cause for concern. While at work, she texts boy from work to say she's being sent to a specialist a few states away, appt. for Thursday, so she's leaving Wednesday. Her dad is going with her.

Meanwhile, boy is dealing with emotions he wasn't expecting to be dealing with so early on. So, on top of the fact that the boy is struggling with the realization he's falling hard for this girl and she's falling hard for him but that they both need to spend some more time dating others is difficult enough without having to sit on the sidelines while she goes off to see a specialist a few states over. He can only hope she returns soon and all is well. Girl's sister will keep him updated if she is required to stay rather than come home after the tests, but the boy still feels quite out of it.

Girl knows boy is starting to struggle with the idea of actually dating other people. The girl is also struggling with the idea of the boy dating other people. On the other hand, both boy and girl are aware that simply jumping into a full-fledged relationship at this moment is highly problematic and that additional dating should clarify the rightness or wrongness of their own status vis-a-vis each other. Boy and girl realize they are at a point where they should again talk about the issue, but the sickness/medical issue makes that extremely difficult at the moment. All of this, however, has pales before the need for the girl to see a specialist. Her doctor is seriously concerned.

So, there you have it. Once again I find myself in an overly complicated situation exacerbated by a medical issue. Meanwhile, the boy waits to hear back from the intimidating one (aka Leopard Girl, a name given to her by the Girl after she looked at the profile because Leopard Girl was wearing a leopard print dress in a couple of the pictures) and history girl (a name history girl has given to herself because she works for the state historical society). Both have expressed an interest in going out on a date with the boy. (Oh, did I mention that the girl is a licensed R.N.? She understand the concern.) So, here I am, deeply concerned for an almost-but-not-quite girlfriend (who doesn't want to think of herself or be thought of as a girlfriend because that breaks down the illusion of emotional distance necessary at the moment) but unable to do anything other than tell her I'm deeply concerned.

A few months ago, G. said that she didn't envy me going out on the dating scene again. It was not something she would want to do, she said. There's a very good side to it, but it's also rough.

So, there you have it, Othinn's adventures in dating.

Jun. 15th, 2010

03:41 pm - And more wow...

The major oil companies' contingency plans for oil spills in the Gulf—not just BP's—include discussions of protecting walruses. I'm not going to condemn the companies for copying each others' plans—there's nothing wrong with companies sharing and adopting each others' best practices—but I will condemn them for taking such potentialities so lightly that they couldn't be bothered to notice references to walruses in the Gulf of Mexico. That's not sharing best practices; that's laziness working its way to criminal negligence.

Jun. 14th, 2010

11:59 pm - Wow. Just Wow.

Just one passage from an account full of numerous cost-cutting and time-saving decisions BP made with the Deepwater Horizon rig, decisions made contrary to the advice of engineers and other experts working on and with the rig.

Waxman and Stupak also said BP apparently rejected advice of a subcontractor, Halliburton Inc., in preparing for a cementing job to close up the well. BP rejected Halliburton's recommendation to use 21 "centralizers" to make sure the casing ran down the center of the well bore, they said. Instead, BP used six centralizers.

In an e-mail on April 16, a BP official involved in the decision explained: "It will take 10 hours to install them. I do not like this." Later that day, another official recognized the risks of proceeding with insufficient centralizers but commented: "who cares, it's done, end of story, will probably be fine." [Read more.]

Jun. 8th, 2010

02:32 pm - US Treaty with Tripoli, 1796-97

I'm finding the US Treaty with Tripoli, 1796-97, to be a fascinating document, making the rounds because of Article 11, which reads:

Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.
Unanimously approved by the Senate during the 5th United States Congress. This would have been during the first year of John Adams' presidency with Thomas Jefferson serving as President of the Senate.

I'm sure there are those who point to this and argue, "See, the US was never a Christian nation" and it's definitely being used in the debate over what exactly separation of church and state means. It bothers me that we've gotten to this point, and the underlying issue here, for me, resonates with "How Dawkins converted me from atheism to agnosticism", which I also ran across today. The author of the later essay explains that spending time with the "new atheists"—Dawkins and his fans—was very much like attending a church service: they've got a doctrine of anti-belief. I've been saying that for a while, too.

Back back to the treaty. We've gotten to the point in our discourse where there's a movement to claim that the United States was founded as a Christian nation as if the Puritans wrote the Constitution. On the other hand, some of the more vocal opponents to such claims include the new atheists, bringing their anti-religious ideology to the discussion.

Of course, both sides are right. And they are both wrong. The United States is not a "Christian" nation, but it is a nation founded upon and rooted in Western, Judeo-Christian, Protestant, Anglo-American culture. Just as we can point to vestiges or direct decent of the Napoleonic Code in the civil codes of Louisiana and Quebec and in the Chilean Civil Code and recognize they're being founded upon and rooted in Western, Judeo-Christian, Catholic, Franco-American culture.) In this sense, we can say that they are "christian". It's akin to me saying that I'm Scottish, Welsh, English, German, and Native American. (But Othinn, you're saying, I thought you were Æsir! Fear not, dear readers, I am vast enough to be many things at one time.) I am all those things in origin, and you can find traces, even direct influences, in my outlook, values, and ideology. But, at the same time, I am not any of those things. And that's what Amendment 11 of the treaty is saying: America is not a Christian nation even if it is a nation based in Western, Judeo-Christian, Protestant, Anglo-American culture and made up primarily of Christians.

I like how that amendment begins with "As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion..." because, clearly, as I've alluded to, it is difficult, if not pointless, to try to separate 18th-century Anglo-American culture from Christianity. It's infused with it. But it's not one way: Western culture shaped Christianity as Christianity shaped Western culture. At the same time, however, the Founders had to very good models of Anglo-American Christian governments: the Puritan colonists and the British government. Both, in their way, were Christian as well as christian. Those models were rejected for a secular state.

It's interesting to compare the US Treaty with Tripoli with the regular documents some Christian activists argue prove that the US was founded as a Christian nation. (See the section "Resources that prove the founding fathers intended for this to be a Christian nation.") Their documents, many of which aren't themselves legal documents, unlike the Treaty, are strong evidence for America being a christian nation at the time of its founding but not a Christian one.

And this comes back to that word "secular." Secular is not, as some people would like us to believe, the opposite of religious or Christian. A nation can be secular and full of Christian believers just as a nation can be Christian and full on non-believers, say, for instance, Colonial India which was overwhelmingly non-Christian even while the Colonial government and political elite were Christian. As I said, secular doesn't mean non-religious. It means non-theocratic. Whereas a theocratic America would be a Christian nation; a secular America (that is, an America "not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion") has been and is still largely a christian nation.

May. 12th, 2010

09:47 pm - WTF?

Via the St. Petersburg Times

Pundit Rush Limbaugh, who has a home on Florida's Palm Beach, suggested that the explosion could have resulted from Earth Day eco-sabotage by one of the rig workers. Limbaugh also said a cleanup was unnecessary.

"The ocean will take care of this on its own if it was left alone and left out there," Limbaugh said. "It's natural. It's as natural as the ocean water is."
I'll leave the Earth Day eco-sabotage comment alone and focus on the unnecessariness of the clean up. Yes, oil is natural in just the same way that plutonium is natural. The oil spill, however, is not natural any more than if someone were to spread a few pounds of plutonium throughout one of Limbaugh's houses. Nature will take care of both the oil and the plutonium if given enough time, but both are/would be human-made disasters that render the effected area uninhabitable until nature's had its way, which takes a long, long time. I've been on beaches with small amounts of tar balls from small oil spills that happened years before. It's not fun.

Oil is natural. Oil sitting underground off shore is natural. An earthquake that tore open the ocean floor which then released millions of gallons of oil would be natural. However, an off-shore oil rigs blowing up and spilling millions of gallons of oil into one of America's most important wetlands/coastal regions is not natural. While a broad reading of the second law of thermodynamics does postulate that oil spills are a natural result of drilling for oil, this doesn't mean that it's okay to leave the oil there. Personal responsibility means that you clean up your own mess. The oil wouldn't be destroying the coast if BP wasn't pumping it and BP wouldn't be pumping it if we didn't use it. It's a human made mess, which means we, as responsible people, need to clean it up. And whether or not this was just an unfortunate accident rather than the result of negligence, it's becoming increasingly clear that BP willfully ignored known problems that have made this accident much worse than it should be. I'll be curious to learn if Limbaugh starts talking about holding BP accountable for their willful negligence in this affair.

Okay, I am going to comment on the eco-sabotage claim. Congressional investigators, going over BP's own documents which they'd marked as confidential, have found that the blowout preventer had "a set of huge valves, had a hydraulic leak and a failed battery." [See BBC story.] And from NPR I also heard that the blowout preventer was also modified which "effectively crippled one of its five components" and removed another ram so that they could add some test equipment. [See NPR story.] Oh, BP also knew that the blowout device's blind shear ram couldn't cut through the piping it was using.

Now, if I wanted to go all Rush Limbaugh and throw out made up shit presented as serious speculation, I might suggest that BP didn't worry about the all the problems with the blowout preventer because they knew the shear ram couldn't cut through the pipe anyways. I'm not going to suggest that as possible fact because I don't know. It is just speculation on my part, but it's far less wild speculation than Limbaugh suggesting that an environmentalist took a job as an off-shore oil platform worker just so they could cause a huge environmental disaster on Earth Day. Personally, I think Earth First and the Animal Liberation Front have plenty of dangerous whack jobs —— honest-to-God domestic terrorists —— in their midst but blowing up oil rigs isn't their M.O.

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