Bedroom Communism

Because it’s too good of a title to NOT use.

The starting idea for this entry came from a conversation I had with a friend about the topic of “Threesomes” or Menage a Trois. I simply stated:

“I look at Threesomes in much the same way that I look at Communism. Sounds like a great idea… Looks great on paper… but just doesn’t work in the real world.”

I still stand by that. It seems to be something that adds a lot of unnecessary complications to something that is already, by its very nature, complicated. It’d be like throwing a wrench into a monkey-house… someone will get hurt before they get the banana. (Wasn’t sure where I was going with that sentence… but it actually makes a bit of perverted sense in the end.)

I’ve can think of two dissertations on the arguments favoring Threesomes. One is an early episode of Sex and the City. One of the characters talks about how the best way to have a threesome is to be the “Guest-Star”… the outside individual that is not in a relationship with the other two, so you have no emotional connection or commitment, and therefore has no obligation or even a care if any ensuing drama commences. (Kind of a cold approach to it… but admittedly valid.)

The other was from author/blogger/podcaster Violet Blue, who runs and writes a website called Tiny Nibbles, which is, in my opinion, a VERY good sex-education site... one of the best. It’s fun and informative, she’s open and intelligent… and extremely easy on the eyes. (But then, I may just have a thing for Beautiful Brunettes in Glasses. Or just Beautiful Brunettes. Or just Beautiful.)

Anyway, one of her podcasts talks about Threesomes, and methods to introduce it into your relationship should a couple want to do so. She talks a lot about “laying ground rules”, lots and lots of communication, as well as using a nonsensical “safe word” should one start to feel left out, knowing when to stop, etc. All good concepts… and I’d agree, if you’re going to bring in a guest-star, that DOES sound like the best, healthiest way to go about it.

I’m just not a fan of the logistics. Not in the preparing and communication parts… I’m all for those. I mean the logistics of the actual ACT of the Threesome.

I’m a guy that likes to please my lady (when I have one). Bringing in a second... now I have to please ANOTHER? Sheesh! I try to give it my all to my partner, so that means I have to either double my effort… an even more tiring prospect… or split the effort. At the very least, I’m splitting my focus, and I don’t like doing that. That’s not an area I want to squeak by with doing a half-ass job, know what I mean?

As a counter-argument to that, I’ve had some people tell me, “Okay… but you could also just lie back and have 2 women pleasure YOU.” I guess that’s true… but I actually don’t like that idea. I don’t like sitting back and being greedy, without putting forth effort myself. I think half the pleasure is being pro-active… and getting without giving would just make me feel guilty, and hence I wouldn’t be enjoying it as much.

Plus, I don’t like being a hypocrite. Because if I have the desire to be involved in a Male-Female-Female Threesome… then by rights, I have to be okay with the idea of being involved in a Male-Female-MALE Threesome as well. Frankly, I don’t think I like the idea of sharing my lady with another naked dude. Nope. Not for me. (Though if it’s for you… more power to ya.) Sorry… In that manner, I *am* greedy.

I can only recall one instance that I heard of a Threesome actually “working”. Chatting with 2 friends one day… talking about dating, and one guy told us his “once-in-a-lifetime-chance-encounter” of how he met two girls at a party… they all hit it off, and that night, they had a threesome. No one was in a relationship with anyone else… and no one felt any emotional pain or jealousy afterwards. Clean break for all involved (seemingly, at least). The guy said it “just happened”, and was a total fluke, the chances were one-in-a-million (though it was in Hollywood… so if there’s any place where the chances may increase, it’d probably be there. So “2-in-a-million”, then), and won’t happen again, no matter how hard he tries.

In a normal “Threesome” situation, a clean break won’t be so easy to attain. Two of the people will be in a relationship, and committed to each other. In something like that, if it’s going to happen, both partners have to truly *want* the experience, 100%, gung-ho, “let’s-do-this-thang!” When one partner is pushing the other (mostly the guy trying to get the girl to go with it… big surprise there, right?), that’s just a recipe for disaster and pain. If one is 100%, and the other is only 95%... you’re better off NOT doing it.

In fact, it’s a major annoyance of mine to hear when some guys are really pushing for it because of the fact that their girlfriend is a Bisexual… “So *obviously* she’s into it!” Uh…. No. Guess what, Sparky? Just because she’s attracted to guys AND girls… doesn’t mean she wants them AT THE SAME TIME!! Hey, I like Milk and Orange Juice… but I don’t drink them simultaneously! *sigh* Assholes.

(and by the way… just because your girlfriend is singing along to “I Kissed A Girl” doesn’t mean she’s bisexual, either. It just means she likes modern music.)

Of all my Bi-friends… more have told me they felt “pressured” into a Threesome, then there were ones that were suggesting it in the first place. And if you try to pressure someone into doing something they don’t really want to do… well, for one, you’re not going to get their best effort… so will it really be worth it? Plus, they’ll probably end up having more than a tad bit of resentment towards you. Yeah, suffice to say, you will lose a few brownie points with them, at the very least.

Then again, what do I know? I don’t have a lot of experience in that area… I’ve never had the opportunity for a Threesome… never been offered, never had it suggested, nor have I ever suggested it myself.

I just do a LOT of thinking. And there’s still so much that confuses me.

I’d even go so far to say that the formal Sex Education I got in school was pretty horrible. In our school system, it was first introduced in 7th grade… and didn’t really tell us much. They showed the disgusting side-view dissections of the penis and vagina… and that was pretty much it. In all honesty… I didn’t even know the concept of “insertion” was involved until about 4 years later when I got a glimpse of my first adult film as a teenager. Isn’t that freaking pathetic?

Birth control was barely touched on… they never even mentioned masturbation as a healthy, safe alternative, or anything about emotions and feelings. Alternative lifestyles? No such thing… It was just a lot of fallopian tubes, ovaries, testes, glands and other medical words… coupled with “Don’t do it.”

Wow… that was unhelpful. The only sexual-thing I learned in public school was, “be ashamed of your spontaneous erections. They’re not normal in the least and are the easiest thing for kids to make fun of you for.” Sweet Jeebus, I got better Sex Ed watching The Electric Company than I got from that school system.

Most of my learning came from my own research. Normally, I wasn’t crazy about reading non-fiction outside of school… but face it; Sex is a REALLY interesting topic. So, to quote one of my favorite stand-up comedians, Emo Philips:

“I learned about women the hard way… through books.”

Yeah, I read a lot. I was a late bloomer in terms of physically dating… but when I actually got to it… I was fairly well-researched, theory-wise. My first girlfriend really didn’t believe that she was my *first* girlfriend because she told me, “Well… you seem to know what you’re doing.” (Sure, there’s the possibility it was just ego-stroking… but I’ll take it.)

Thankfully, with the advent of the Internet, it’s gotten easier… sure there’s a lot of porn out there, but there are also a lot of useful sites. Like I mentioned before, Violet Blue’s Tiny Nibbles is a great site for that kind of info (on ALL aspects of Sex and Sexuality). But there’s also the radio show Loveline with Dr. Drew Pinsky (a celebrity doctor that actually knows what he’s talking about… he’s a *practicing* physician.)… they stream it online, but you might also be able to find a local radio station that carries it. It’s probably one of the best resources out there for young people wondering about Sex and Health.

Yet, as interesting as I found it, Sex was never something I put THAT much emphasis on, when it came right down to it. Now a friend once heard me mention that, and she interpreted that to mean that I “didn’t like” sex. Far from it. Hell, I’d love to get it every day if I could. What I meant was that… Yes, it’s an enjoyable thing… but there are also lots of OTHER things I enjoy. Being on stage… hanging with friends and laughing till your face hurts… having a great conversation... As great and important as Sex is, there *are* a lot more things in life. That was always my philosophy… so it always enabled me to easily wait for the lady in the relationship… and let her dictate the pace, sexual-wise. Sure, some relationships went faster than others… but no matter how brief or how long I was with someone, I do not regret ANY of the women I’ve been with. Nope. Not one. (Though there hasn’t been that many of them)

But these days… I *am* putting more emphasis on Sex. I still believe there’s more to life… and I will still wait on the lady, and all that. But now, once its introduced into a relationship… its downright unfair and callous to try and remove it, without severing the relationship altogether. Beforehand… I think I wasn’t putting ENOUGH emphasis on it. It’s like when you’re sewing two pieces of fabric together. You can easily get by without putting in the Sex Stitch… but once you do, trying to pull it out later will just make everything else unravel. I’ve been in that situation. It sucks… AND blows. More than you can imagine. Having that intimacy and then NOT having it… is not just about physicality and orgasmic gratification. And it unravels more than just a relationship.

(Though I have been told I think a bit “like a chick”)

One last thing I wanted to mention before the end of this… is the fact that I absolutely HATE the idea of “Damaged Goods”. I’ve heard more then a few people over the years that consider themselves as such… and it’s at the point now where it flat-out pisses me off. We’re humans… not “Goods”. We are not bought and sold… (or at least, we shouldn’t be) and I don’t like people using slave terminology when referring to their options of happiness.

I know some women that consider themselves as such because of the fact they are single mothers. In a roundabout way, that’s partially laying blame on the existence of the kids… and I kind of take it personally when a kid is being blamed for something that’s not their fault. (More accurately, that’s the kind of thing that would incur my wrath.) Plus… it’s blaming them self for not picking the right partner in the first place. So what? You made a mistake in judgment. It happens to the best of us. Yes, some choices bring about consequences, but you know what? It’s never too late.

A woman having kids is NOT a deal-breaker for me. I’ve briefly dated women with kids before… and I’ve been *rejected* by women with kids before (even with the old, “Sure-let’s-do-this-again-and-then-never-return-my-calls” method). As long as I know that some time can be carved out for me… I’m okay with the idea of dating a single mom. (But I do need to know the Sperm Donor is out of the picture… if he’s still allowed to make life a living hell, that’s a sign of deeper problems, in my humble opinion) Yes, there’s a lot of guys that won’t want to get involved with a single mother… but there are guys that don’t mind it at all, and even think of it as less of a problem than *I* do.

The other type of woman that seems to consider herself as “damaged goods” is the “promiscuous” type. I put that in quotes because I think it’s a word whose definition isn’t the same as it used to be… in fact, it’s all a matter of perspective on what you think “promiscuous” is. 80 years ago, a woman that’s slept with 1 guy out of wedlock would be a “harlot”. Nowadays, some people can hear a number up in the 20s and consider that “normal”… while others would hear it and think “slut”.

There was a non-fiction book I read called Fast Girls: Teenage Tribes and the Myth of the Slut. (This was the book that gave me the quote which inspired the whole “anonymous forum” part of this column.) It was all about dissecting the idea and archetype of the “Slut” in society, and looking at the specific stories of women who were branded as “the Slut” when they were young. Some of the rumors spread about them were true… most were false… and all of the stories were remarkably similar. It’s not so much a book about promiscuity… but rather more about how cruel the “Grapevine” can be.

If you take one of those girls, and actually assume that the stories are true… they slept with 50+ guys, or whatever. Well, we live in a Cause-and-Effect world… these kinds of actions have their origins and seeds from earlier on. Maybe a sexual assault, or abuse growing up… something made it click in the gal’s head that sex = approval or abuse = love or however they’re thinking of it… but they’re getting around, searching for that love and approval. (It could also be, they just REALLY like Sex… and nothing to do with any trauma. It happens.) Are these women truly less deserving of finding Love?

Hell, I’d argue that they’re probably MORE deserving of Love, because they were dealt such a lousy hand that gave them these skewed ideas in the first place. (You won’t recognize Heaven until you’ve been through Hell.) We all make relationship mistakes… and some people will make a lot more than others. Why would you be rejected for being human?

The only concern that I would have, personally, is that of Health. As long as I’m truthfully told that disease is not to be worried about… as our modern technology brings us protection and medicines to help PREVENT that sort of thing (sometimes even just blind luck)… I don’t see a problem. She likes you, you like her, you’re both clean… what’s stopping you from giving it a shot with each other?

Do guys still have a fascination of being with a Virgin? Yeah, I guess you don’t have to worry about some of the health things I mentioned above… (But SHE may have to worry about them from YOU) and maybe guys look at it as “she has no frame of reference, therefore I *will* be the best she’s had! Huzzah!” Hmmm… Maybe that’s why they don’t like the so-called “loose” ones… they’re afraid of being compared to other guys, which means it’s their own insecurities holding them back. Well… I’m actually confidant in my own abilities, thank-you-very-much… and always willing to learn. Being a Virgin isn’t going to be a detriment (like the “kids” thing)… But, it’s not going to be a point of attraction, either.

Frankly, I don’t care if I’m your first.

I don’t care if I’m the 10th… or the 50th… or the 100th.

I only care about hopefully being the Last.

I let everyone start on equal footing, regardless of their history. Everyone is the same… just like Communism.

Which is the only part of Communism that I think is worth a thought.


Be an Individual... like everyone else.

One of the biggest hypocrisies that I can think of which exist in this world is the concept of Individuality.

Especially so, when you put it with its opposite: Conformity.

…And even MORE so when you put this battle into the gladiatorial arena known as Youth.

On one hand, with Conformity, the arguments in favor of it are usually along the lines of, “Don’t rock the boat”. Hearing this, some of us might picture a very straight-laced, suit-and-tie, corporate-type saying it… or a pair of ultra-conservative parents… or you may just think of the word, “fuddy-duddy”. (Which, for some, are the exact arguments AGAINST it) At the very least, I think most people at least subconsciously think of the word “boring”. That is… taking the word and concept at total face value.

For Individuality… it’s presented as the greatest idea since sliced bread. Something about the word gives the image of exciting, fun, cool and sexy. I think you ask anyone the straight-up question with no qualifier or previous information or points of view… “Which is better: Individuality or Conformity?” I think you’ll be told “Individuality” at least 85% of the time. (Allowing the 15% fuddy-duddy factor. This is only my theory, with no scientific evidence to back it up.)

It helps that it’s kind of pounded into our heads… we’ve all had the art teachers that stress “finding yourself” and “being your own person”. Or the James Dean wannabes that say, “Come on, Man, don’t be a sheep”. And not to mention all the fashion advertisements from clothing companies telling you to “express your personal style”. Listening to the words… Individuality is the way to go.

So why do the actions tell us something completely different?

If artists were all truly “individuals”… there wouldn’t be categories like Impressionism, Surrealism, Expressionism, etc. Everyone would be in their own, separate category.

Why does the guy saying, “Don’t be a sheep” want me to follow what HE’S doing?

You know, if it really is my “personal” style… why do they make 500,000 copies of the same shirt and ship all over the country? Shouldn’t they just make ONE and sent it right to me? Hell… why are THEY even involved??? The whole fashion industry is sold on individuality but based on conformity (getting thousands of people to buy the same thing).

When I was young, and even now, we get bombarded with “be an individual”, “be yourself”, “don’t follow the herd”. There are critically acclaimed movies that point out the “Dangers of Conformity” (Dead Poets Society, anyone? Which preaches the dangers of conformity, but actually *demonstrates* the dangers of individuality) and give an overriding message to “be you”.

It definitely SOUNDS like the best option… and I can’t really think of an argument to ever NOT “be you”… but why doesn’t it always feel that way? Because when you ask any kid that’s feeling lonely and ostracized, “What they want”… they’ll tell you they’d give their left arm to just simply “Fit in”.

Hell, I’d almost rather hear the Conformity arguments from the Fuddy-Duddys… at least with them, you know where you stand. A lot of the “Individuality Bombardment Brigade” can seem like they’re not living in the real world.

In school, if you’re different enough in the eyes of others… the last thing the majority are doing is celebrating your “uniqueness”. Unless by “celebrating” you mean such statements as, “Why are you so weird?”, “What a loser.”, “Ugh… freak”, and the ever popular “Why can’t you be normal?”.

Not seeing a lot of incentives to “be yourself” there… or is it just me?

Sure, a lot of kids that say that are the kind that “aren’t worth it”… and that’s what we usually tell ourselves… but it still hurts to hear it. That’s when you start to realize that a synonym for “individuality”… is “alone”. Once you know what its like to feel completely alone in a room that’s filled to the brim with people… you start thinking that maybe “being an individual” isn’t such a great idea.

Now, I am by no means giving 100% endorsement for Conformity. Actually… far from it. I’ve never been one to consciously follow the notion of Conformity… But if I simply did the “preaching what I practiced” without forcing myself to look at a different angle… then this would just be another piece of useless propaganda that you could see in any magazine ad or feel-good-self-help book.

What I *am* doing… is trying to find the right balance.

When you’re young… you’re a bit of a blank slate. Sure, some of us have chemical imbalances, or trouble at home, or whatever life-altering conditions… but it is by no means “too late” for any kid. The person you are in 5 years from that point will be COMPLETELY different, and again so another 5 years beyond that. I believe any situation can be changed given time.

At that age, we’re all filled with advertisements, music videos, flashy images, and at best… *other* people’s opinions. Such as, if your dad is a Cubs fan… YOU are a Cubs fan. (You can figure out some “not-so-nice” variations of that on your own) All the jokes you know were read from a joke book or heard from someone else… who most likely got it from a joke book. (And no kid has ever mastered the art of “the delivery” at that age) Originality doesn’t exist yet… it’s all a spin-off or teeny-tiny variation of something else that you loved… whether it’s a comic book, song, story, drawing, etc. It’s almost like we’re not so much “people” as we are pop-culture repositories… but at that age, you rarely complain about that.

And everyone is on the path to try and “find themselves”. Some just give up the search before others. And we all love the idea of being individuals… because we like to think we’re “special”. Though deep down, we all recognize (and we can credit the movie The Incredibles for this wording) that “saying everyone is special is the same as saying that no one is.

In a world of Individuals… how does one be truly unique?

Which could also bring up the argument that NO ONE is a true “individual”. If “Conformity” truly is the opposite of “Individuality”… then a synonym is “Non-conforming”… and everyone, no matter how “individualistic” they are… does some kind of conforming.

What is friendship… but a version of Conformity? Two people (or more) finding some kind of a common ground, and bonding over it in some fashion. (Look at any group of Goth kids for an example. All considered freaks and weirdoes… all actively trying to be “individuals”… yet all wearing black, listening to Industrial music and being morose.) The simple nature of BEING friends with someone is changing and “conforming” you… it’s just conforming you in ways that you *want* to conform to. Without the friends I’ve met, I never would have gotten into gaming, horror movies, Doctor Who, or most of the Geek hobbies I have. My friends have influenced me, and I’ve influenced my friends. No, I haven’t drastically altered the way they live their lives… nor have they to me. But “conformity” doesn’t have to be major.

Several months ago, I mentioned/stressed how I have “similarities” with my friends, but ultimately, we’re all different from each other… which is true. And the opposite is true. Sure, we’re all different… but we have some things in common… that’s how we *became* friends.

We’re always going to have qualities in common with *someone* in this world… there’s 6 billion of us, and not as many human traits as that. It may take us time to find each other, but eventually you do. In the right settings, those like-minded people tend to gravitate towards each other.

So when we think of “individuality”… it’s never going to be 100% completely-different-from-everyone-else-in-the-world. But the best we can hope for is a unique COMBINATION of particular traits. And when you are “finding yourself” and discovering the hobbies, likes, dislikes, traits, and morals that you want to have and employ in your life… try to make sure you’re picking and choosing the particulars for YOU… and not for/because of someone else. (Parents, that hot guy/girl, the government, etc)

I look at the lesson like this:

Conformity… helps us to love others. Individuality… helps us to love ourselves.

Both are pretty important, if you ask me. And as many will tell you… it’s important to love yourself before you can love others. I think it all goes together nicely.

A certain amount of conformity is important… and to some who’d agree with that… “probably not as much as your thinking”.

Likewise, individuality is important… but to some that would agree with *that*… “Don’t let that go to your head.”

Balance. It’s all about finding the balance.

As for what that balance IS….

What the hell are you looking at me for? How would I know?


My Sci-Fi High

Science Fiction rivals… if not beats… my love of Horror.

I know I’ve talked a little about it before… first in my Star Wars post, and the Geek post… but I wanted to expand on it a bit more, because I love it just so much.

But like Horror… there’s a lot of crap out there. Seriously. A lot of it just blows.

In fact, I’d say it’s easier to have bad Sci-fi then it is to have bad Horror. Likewise… it’s harder to have good Sci-Fi then good Horror.

You see… Horror is relatively easy. ANY movie can be considered a Horror movie, when you think about it. Horror is simply “conflict”… and every story needs conflict or a problem that needs solving, or there’s no story to tell. I once scarred a friend of mine when I took her favorite Disney movies and re-stated them with an emphasis on the conflicts, and basically made them sound like horror movies. (She never looked at Mary Poppins or The Little Mermaid the same way again.) Whether or not a certain movie is categorized as “Horror” in the video store, really just depends on how the filmmakers place the focus on that conflict. Ever see the re-cut trailers of some movies on YouTube? The first one that gained big popularity was of The Shining… edited to make it look like a heartwarming-family-road-movie (with Peter Gabriel music in the background and everything). The secret to that is simply shifting the focus away from the blood and madness that we normally associate with that film… suddenly, it doesn’t look like a horror film anymore.

Sci-Fi… not so. It’s more specific. Not any film can be a Sci-Fi film… because Science Fiction is SO dependant on the Idea… with a capital “I”.

You can’t just throw in laser guns and outer space and have it be a true Science Fiction film. An aesthetic does not Sci-Fi make. The common conception, however, IS that’s all it takes. That’s why we have so many “sci-fi” films that are severely lacking in the science… (remember: Star Wars is NOT Science Fiction)

Think of Science Fiction as an experiment… an actual scientific experiment. We learned from school that when you wish to conduct an experiment, you need 2 groups: A Control Group… your subject in a completely normal and known set of circumstances. Then you need the Test Group… which is the subject in the same circumstances… but with ONE change to it. One singular major or minor change to it. Then you compare the two groups… and you see the consequences of that one change, and what exactly it does.

The Control Group is simple… that’s our world. The real one we live in. We *know* the normal, standard, everyday set of circumstances… we see it everyday. The Experiment Group is the world of the story… which should start out like our world… and then have one change to it. The story itself is the results of that test… whether immediately after that change has taken place… or maybe even far in the future, and you hypothesize about the long-term effects of that change.

Science Fiction allows… sometimes even forces us, to philosophize. It brings up questions that we would NEVER have probably thought about otherwise.

Have you ever thought about what it REALLY means to be “Human”?

What if you really were able to travel through time? Would you try to change anything? Even if it meant that yourself or someone you loved would then never exist? And could you kill the baby that grows up to be Hitler?

What if Man could *create* Life? (Not just perpetuate it)

If life on other planets exists… what does that mean for US?

Plus, Science Fiction can re-charge OLD philosophical questions and give whole new directions to them.

What is Reality?

Do we really have Free Will, or is everything pre-ordained?

How can we know what is truly “moral” and “good”?

And don’t forget the granddaddy of all…

Is there a God?

I’m not saying that some of these questions can’t come up in other genres… but Science Fiction is more readily able to ask them… *because* of the experimental nature of it. It “pushes the envelope” more than any other.

When you make that change in a story, you have to follow it through and look at THAT change… you can’t suddenly cop-out and then start looking at the old “two lovers from opposite sides of the tracks” kind of situation… at best you could do that in a subplot… but if you’re not going to look at and examine the change you made… then there’s no point to make it. (Looking at that change is what reveals the metaphor… which is what connects the story to us and our “control” world… maybe even helps us recognize things that we should change with ourselves.)

When it comes to the narrative, that one change you make, that idea… has to be the rule that dictates the entire underlying reality of that world. Because that one change is the audiences allowance for “suspension of disbelief”. For example, look at 2001: A Space Odyssey… the whole movie occurs and moves forward based on the idea that there are benevolent aliens aiding in human evolution. The Matrix… All events stemmed from the off-screen expositional discovery of true Artificial Intelligence. (Think about it)

I think a great example of Good Science Fiction vs Not Science Fiction… actually came from the show Star Trek: The Next Generation. Now, Star Trek can’t be blanketed as saying its Science Fiction… because it really comes down to each of the individual episodes, and the specific story each one is telling. Star Trek is a great “background” that can be used for good Sci-Fi. One evening, I was watching TNG in syndication… and they had 2 episodes back-to-back:

The first one was about a civil war. The Captain recruited a young protégé of his to infiltrate one side of a conflict… of which she eventually grows to sympathize with, ultimately abandoning her role on the Enterprise, and joining this rebellion full-time. The story… wasn’t Science Fiction… that’s a Military Espionage story. You could easily transplant into ANY period in history… with very little tailoring of the details. Take out the ray guns… put in whatever weapons from any time period, slap it in a third-world country… the story will still work, and give the same message. 95% of that dialog won’t have to be changed if you take it out of the Star Trek Universe.

The second episode… through a strange encounter, the crew finds that their ship, the Enterprise… is starting to gain actual sentience, and become truly “alive”. Through the entire episode; every scene, every plot, every action and reaction was coming about due to the fact that the ship was becoming alive. You could take it out of the Star Trek Universe, sure… but you couldn’t put that story just anywhere else. It needs to be, and can only happen in, a world that can allow for that possibility.

THAT is true Science Fiction. You can think of questions like, “If a computer… a machine, can truly be alive, without organic parts… then what IS Life? Would simply unplugging the console be murder? Do we have a responsibility to preserve this machine life?” And if you didn’t want to think that deeply… you can immerse yourself in the creepy notion of things spiraling out of hand in a way that no one could have foreseen.

There IS a lot of great, underrated Science Fiction out there. I think some of the best stuff comes from the show The Outer Limits… with one of the most iconic opening narrations of all time:

There is nothing wrong with your television. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are now controlling the transmission. We control the horizontal, and the vertical. We can deluge you with a thousand channels or expand one single image to crystal clarity - and beyond. We can shape your vision to anything our imagination can conceive. For the next hour we will control all that you see and hear. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the deepest inner mind to... The Outer Limits.

Dude… that still give me goosebumps. (This version is from the newer series that started in 1995)

Every episode was a tightly structured, completely independent story… and managed to convey some great Science Fiction ideas consistently throughout both its runs (from 1963-65, and 1995-2002).

More recently, I discovered the movie Sunshine, directed Danny Boyle. I was so blown away by this movie, I couldn’t believe it. The design and effects were beyond top-notch… with the CGI impressive yet not over-powering. I’m surprised that it didn’t get a wider release when it came out in early 2007. It’s simply about a team of astronauts that are sent on a mission to re-ignite a dying sun... and is very well told. Personally, I loved it.

Bicentennial Man… A lot of people seemed to hate this movie, but it’s another one that I think is very much underrated. One of the big criticisms I hear of it (and indeed of a lot of true Sci-Fi) is that it’s very slow-moving. Yeah, I can see that… but when it comes to Sci-Fi… I don’t mind if it moves slow. (As much as I love 2001… I have fallen asleep during it several times) Since it often is a world quite different from our own… it takes a bit of time to adjust to it. As long as the underlying idea is solid… I’ll move with the slow pace. Here… a robot’s journey to become human… is one I found really interesting… and the execution of it was nicely done. (By the same token… I didn’t think A.I. was so horrible, either)

Gattaca… I resisted seeing this movie for awhile… probably because I just wasn’t a fan of Ethan Hawke. But a friend insisted that I “had to see it”. So I rented it (just before the days of DVD)… and I watched it… and was so engrossed and touched by the story that the credits played through… the videotape went to static, then the screen went blue as it reached the end of the tape by itself… and I just sat there, thinking. I still think its one of the best Sci-Fi movies of the last 25 years. It’s a world where human genetic manipulation is possible… and even commonplace. The main character is a normal guy who is not genetically manipulated, (considered “inferior”) who is passing himself off as someone who is. I was completely shocked at how good I found this film.

Obviously, this is by no means a complete list of the only good Sci-Fi that I’ve found… but it is some of my personal favorite.

It’s actually a bit heartbreaking to think how Sci-Fi gets a bad rap for being utter shlock. Granted, with a lot of the Non-Sci-Fi out there being called Sci-Fi… maybe that reputation is slightly deserved.

But at its best… it is solid, tangible proof that human beings… can truly Dream.

So let’s Dream big.



Request by (and blame to be attributed to) Fritz.

Alright…you may have seen the “NC-17” rating at the bottom of this page. That’s not an official government-slapped certification… just a silly little “find what your website is rated” kind of thing. Someone made a program that does it for you, and it’s solely meant for entertainment value. And even though I don’t think I get too nasty or controversial on this blog… the program gave me “NC-17” because of the occurrence of certain words… most of them stemming from my very first post… which was about a movie-premiere party for a Light-Bondage and Discipline Porn Film. So, I wasn’t getting violent or writing anything blatantly and purposefully offensive… I was just peripherally talking about Sex. (Go figure)

Well… today, let’s EARN that NC-17 rating! And talk about some Mother-Fuckin swear words! Huzzah!

Now, I can’t say I particularly *like* cussing… nor can I say I hate it.

Actually, my views on it are probably a little contradictory.

On one hand, I see the point of view of them being “bad words”… and in the interest of manners, civilization and appropriateness… I can see why some wouldn’t want them to be said. In fact, sometimes I have to watch myself to make sure I don’t say any “bad words” around kids.

Which of course, then begs the question… what makes them bad? For instance…. Shit, Poo, Doo-Doo and Crap are all talking about the exact same thing. All synonyms of the same noun… and when using it as a metaphor, they can be interchanged there as well. So what makes one phonetic formation worse or more offensive than the other? What exactly is so offensive about “Doo-Doo”? (Wait… is that the one? Or is it Poo?)

Which leads me to the other hand… my “Fan of Lenny Bruce” hand. He used a lot of naughty words in his stand-up act… because he felt they were only words. If certain words were offensive or had any kind of “power” to them, it was because we gave it to them. As Saint Lenny himself said:

“It's the suppression of the word that gives it the power, the violence, the viciousness.”

So… to battle this idea… he used them. A lot! He was actually thrown in jail numerous times for violations of “indecency laws”. Later on, his entire act would be just reading the transcripts of his Indecency Trials… trying to point out how hilarious the whole situation is… because they’re only words.

One of the first bits of his that I ever read about involved using pretty much every racial slur imaginable inside of 45 seconds. He would go on to say:

"Now why have I done this? Is it only for shock value? Well, if all the niggers started calling each other nigger, not only among themselves, which they do anyway, but among others. If President Kennedy got on television and said: 'I'm considering appointing two or three of the top niggers in the country to my cabinet' -- if it was nothing but nigger, nigger, nigger -- in six months nigger wouldn't mean any more than good night, god bless you... -- when that beautiful day comes, you'll never see another nigger kid come home from school crying because some motherfucker called him a nigger."

Holy crap… shock comedy with an actual POINT! I think that *would* be a beautiful day… but we’re not there yet… and he was talking about this in the early 60s. (It’s probably worth noting that I’m *only* comfortable writing or saying the N-word when I’m quoting Lenny Bruce.)

It’s there… they’re just words, and we have “Freedom of Speech” in this country… so go nuts. What’s the big deal?

That’s when I think that personal tastes come into it… because I actually try to watch my OWN language, (even as a Lenny Bruce fan). I wholeheartedly agree that a lot of words need to be stripped of their power… but to let a *few* of them retain some power and strength to them… isn’t entirely a bad thing.

Take “Fuck” for instance.

There was a guy in High School… looked like he was straight out the 70’s. He had a poofy kind of mullet, always wore jeans, a heavy-metal t-shirt, a brown leather jacket… I think he fancied himself some kind of “rebel without a care”. And he used the F-bomb, literally, as every other word in a sentence.

“What the fuck is this fuckin shit? I fuckin, don’t fuckin care about the fuckin homework. Fuckin, why the fuck do I fuckin gotta do this fuckin stupid fuckin thing?”

It literally took him twice the time to say anything, because he was adding so many “fucks”. Wow… I’ve never heard a swear word mean LESS coming from anyone else. Now, I highly doubt he had the wherewithal to be pulling a “Lenny Bruce” here… no, he didn’t have a social message he was trying to impart… he just thought he was “playing by his own rules”. (I think he actually sounded more like an idiot.)

I’m sure we’ve all seen the chain e-mails and gags that illustrate the variety of uses for that word… it can be a noun, adjective, a title, a qualifier… pretty much anything you need it for. Because it CAN be used in so many ways… it’s important that you’re careful not to overuse it. Think of “Fuck” like Spider-Man… “with great power, comes great responsibility.”

So I say be careful where you use it… because it’s such a great word.

Especially when an attractive member of your preferred sex is using it as a verb, in a request involving you and saying it with a particular look in their eye. But I digress…

I remember when I was a Senior in High School… walking down the hall with a few acquaintances of mine. And in our conversation, I swore. I don’t remember if I was angry about something (I don’t think so) or what… or even what I said, but I used a swear word. One of the ones I was walking with was a young lady and was suddenly a bit shocked, saying, “I don’t think I ever heard you swear before!”

Well… I *had* sworn before… but I think I realized that I didn’t really do it that often (at least in public). Hence the shock when I did.

A few years later, I went through a period when I swore a lot more often… don’t know why, I just did. After one particular instance of interspersing several curse words, a friend of mine actually paused and studied me for a second… then saying, “Nah, swearing doesn’t work for you.”

I think it doesn’t necessarily “work” for me… because I’ve always looked younger than I was. It was like hearing a young kid, or a toddler, say “Motherfucker”. Shocking yes… but also freaking funny as hell, so you can’t take it seriously. So, me looking more “innocent” and young… the extreme swearing just didn’t “feel” right when hearing it from me. Nowadays, even if I look younger than I am… that younger-looking age is old enough that hearing swears and cusses from me sounds a little more normal.

Still… I do like to be careful of my language. Being a writer, I like to consider myself as having a decent-sized vocabulary… (and find it a point of pride that I’ve been able to use the word “Machiavellian” in a normal conversation) and I think its more interesting to not have to rely on the same old words time after time. Which makes it give the words a little more punch when a well-placed “bitch” or “fuck” is thrown in.

Course, there are some swears that don’t have a lot of meaning to me, so they’ll be thrown in willy-nilly to a conversation, and it just feels like saying a preposition or any other word. Like “hell”, “ass”, “damn”… whatever. Those are no big deal.

Now “Jesus”… is a special case. You may notice in this blog, that I don’t use it. Rather, I use “Jeebus”. Now, I don’t consider it “taking the Lord’s name in vain”… because I don’t think I’m using it in vanity, nor am I even a religious person. So… it honestly doesn’t really mean anything to me… not in a positive or negative way. I don’t use it that way… NOT because I’m afraid of offending people… but rather, I say “Jeebus” (of which that pronunciation comes from The Simpsons) solely because I find it funny. That’s it.

There ARE some words that I don’t use at all. The aforementioned “N-word”… because it is still MAJORLY taboo. In fact, I wouldn’t mind if that word simply went away… and NOONE used it at all. (It’s hypocritical to say that one group can use it, and another can’t. Even if that one group is using it to “take away its power”… the fact that you won’t let other groups use it is only FEEDING it that power.) The word is associated with so much hate… that it would be better to just erase it from everyone’s brain. And in 100 years, if the word is rediscovered, the context will be completely lost to history and won’t make any sense to those finding it. They’ll say, “Who cares?”… and then it will truly be finished.

I also don’t use the “C-word”… and I’m not sure why I think it’s on that level of “that bad”. Maybe it’s the hard consonant sounds at the beginning and end of the word… makes it sound harsh and uber-insulting. But it’s a female body part… that’s it. We have no problem using the synonyms… especially in the heat of the moment when that type of language is appropriate, and even encouraged from your loved one. Even amongst many people that advocate swearing and freedom of speech… the C-Word is still seen as ultra-taboo and very few seem to want to even touch it.

But the first time I ever saw The Vagina Monologues… a friend of mine was performing the piece entitled, “Reclaiming C*nt”. And… Holy Crap… she made that word sound SOOOO freaking Sexy. Wow! And the point of the piece was really to take away that negative power to it… and in the context of that monologue, it totally works. (Not to mention that my friend totally nailed it... it was awesome!) Unfortunately, outside of that… it’s still a harsh, unforgiving word. That is one I’d like to see have its power taken away. Not so that *I* can say it… I have no desire for that… but rather because no part of the human body (especially a woman’s) should be presented as a negative.
Which reminds me of another Lenny Bruce quote:

“If something about the human body disgusts you, the fault lies with the manufacturer.”

Yeah, it really does all come back to Saint Lenny. (His autobiography How to Talk Dirty and Influence People is great… one of the extremely few biographies I ever had an interest in reading.)

I’m actually going to make a recommendation here… if you’re interested in learning more about cussing and some different viewpoints on the social implications… the show Penn & Teller’s Bullshit!... has an episode all about the subject of profanity. Very much worth watching… entertaining and even a bit educational.

There. Don’t ever say I don’t promote education.

I’ll end off with another quote… this time from the late, great George Carlin. A very poignant moment from one of his most famous routines:

Shit, Piss, Cunt, Fuck, Cocksucker, Motherfucker, Tits.


Jerked and Re-Jerked

There was a young lady that I had met through a dating/meeting site. (I don’t remember which one) We had written a few times early on, and added each other as friends on MySpace… and then nothing really happened. We sat there as “MySpace friends” for probably about a year. Then one day, I was looking through my friend list, and saw her, and was reminded of her.

Now, I don’t like to have “MySpace Friends”… that is to say, people whose only connection to me is through MySpace. I took a bit of pride in the fact that all my “friends” on there… were ACTUALLY my friends, and I at least knew them in SOME capacity outside of MySpace. There are a few I’ve never met in person… but those are women that were posters to the now-defunct Grrl Genius Blog that was on iVillage.com… so I don’t mind having them on there. But this woman was someone that I really *didn’t * know… but I had wanted to. Technically… since I met her “online” BEFORE I swore off the Internet dating… well, I figured I’d be okay making that last exception. (The fact she had a very beautiful picture probably helped with that… I admit.)

So, I wrote to her… reinstituting contact. She wrote back… and we started a pretty regular correspondence for a week or so. Then we traded phone numbers… and chatted a few times. I enjoyed what I was hearing… and she didn’t seem turned off by my self-deprecating geekiness (though I was trying to keep it under control). I took the chance and asked if she wanted to go out that weekend. She said yes… and we made plans.

She lives just outside Boston, so it took me a little over an hour to get there. Now, it being a first date and all… and I had a *little* more interest in her going into this then the other casual dates I’d met… so I wanted to do something “date-like”, but non-pressure. I admit… I’m looking for love, not just friends… but I also don’t want to jump into anything. I don’t want to go into this thinking, “Yes, let’s start a relationship right now”… but rather say, “I want to give this a fair opportunity to see if it goes anywhere.”

Pressure sucks… I’m not looking to give any pressure, and I don’t want to get any. I just want to be able to relax, and have a good time with someone and be myself.

Then again, I also move slower than a snail through a tar pit.

Anyway… I wanted to do something “date-like”… and I considered flowers, or rather a single flower… but thought that *would* be a slight form of “pressure” or even cliché (maybe not… maybe I’m the only one that overthinks this crap). But I did get, what I thought was, a good idea. I got her a book. “The Tao of Pooh”… we had actually talked a little about that subject during one of our conversations, and I mentioned that book as one I liked, and she said she never read it. I thought it might be a nice, no-pressure kind of small first-date gift that would be appropriate, respectful, fun… and hopefully leave a good impression.

I got to her apartment building, called her, and waited outside. When she came out… I would go so far to say that I thought she looked BETTER than her picture. She dressed practically (it was chilly New England Spring Weather), and still looked very stylish. I thought she looked great. We greeted, I gave her the book, (which she seemed pleased by) and then we got in my car to go get lunch.

I figured “lunch” was a nice, casual non-pressure kind of first date. I knew it was going to be fairly short, as such… and I was okay with that. I didn’t want to wear out any welcome… especially on the first in-person meeting… and of all the “Dating Rules” I’ve ever heard, “leave them wanting more” was one of the few that ever actually made any sense to me. I just had to hope that brief time we hung out… would in fact leave her wanting more.

To be honest… I had a great time. Yeah, driving there felt a *little* awkward… only because I never know what to do with the awkward silences. For me, it’s easier to forward the conversation when I’m facing her. Obviously, that would have killed us (ramming into the guardrail is never cool)… but I did my best, and didn’t think the drive was painful. When we found a restaurant, I felt that the conversation went a bit easier… (but that’s only my opinion… she could have had a completely different view on the matter)

And she was really nice to talk to. You know, if I were to try and judge by body language… I would have thought that she was interested in me as well. There was lots of smiling, a little bit of shyly looking away… all the crap *I* do when I’m interested in someone. I was actually feeling good about this date… and I hadn’t had a good first date (meaning “one that I wanted to lead to a second”) in a very long time.

I dropped her off at her home… I think we only spent about 2 hours… maybe 2 ½ hours together total. Like I said… wanted to start light… not overstay my welcome, and leave her wanting more. (Because I sure did)

Now, I told her flat-out and upfront and honestly… I had a great time, I really liked her… and I wanted to see her again. She said, “Sure”. But I reiterated… I wasn’t saying this because that’s what you’re supposed to say at this point… I wanted to make PLANS to see her again. She said she was busy that next weekend, due to a fundraiser she was working at… but the next weekend, she was free. I said, “Great! I hope I’ll also get to speak to you several times before then.” I told her I would give her a call soon, we hugged goodbye and I left.

No, I didn’t try for a kiss. (I told you… snail through a tar pit.) I figure if it really does go somewhere, there’s plenty of time for that in the future… and again, I don’t like to give pressure. Maybe I move TOO slowly for most people… but I was hoping it would be just enough for her.

I called her the next evening… just like I said I would. She didn’t answer, so I left a brief message… thanking her and telling her I had a great time, and that I hope to hear from her soon.

Nothing. Didn’t hear back from her.

I knew she was majorly busy during the week most days (though we didn’t have much of a problem with our phone calls before… oddly), and normally only “available” on weekends. With it being an hour-plus drive for me… that would have to be the only time I’d be able to physically see her. But I was okay with that idea. If we did develop into something, I’d rather see her once a week than not at all… but I would at least want to TALK to her as often as possible.

But the week went by… and I heard nothing from her. No call… no e-mail message. That Friday, I sent her a message saying, “You’ve probably been busy… but I wanted to wish you luck with your fundraiser tomorrow, and I hope to hear from you soon.” After that… I wasn’t going to send any more. I instituted contact twice… and that’s enough. Any more than that feels stalker-ish. (And stalking is soooo mid-90s)

So, after another week… I concluded that I was being blown off. For the next 3 weeks, I *still* hoped she would call.

I’ve gotten that kind of rejection several times before. Seem to have a great time with someone… they say they’d like to see me again… I call, and they never call back. Why can’t they just say upfront, “You’re a nice guy… but I don’t know if I feel any sparks”?

Personally, I feel that if I have to work up the guts to ask you out… you should work up the guts to tell me you’re not interested. I’ll respect that a hell of a lot more than just being blown off, while keeping my expectations going and stringing me along. It’s the “inaction” that sucks.

A bit more than a month goes by… it’s May. After 4 years of having the same cell phone… I decided to finally upgrade. I go into the AT&T store… my provider, and see what they have. I find a pretty good deal… with the same phone plan I have, same cost and everything… so I get it. The clerk takes the chip out of my old phone and puts it into the new one… and it brings with it the address book and all my contacts. (ooooh… neato) While he’s ringing up my order… I’m playing with the buttons on my new phone… which is turning out to be VERY different from the old one. The concurrent conversation in my head went something like this:

“Okay, that seems to be the ‘menu’ button… that brings me back to the start screen… okay, that’s what brings up the address book….I’ll scroll down a bit… yep, they all seem to be there. Alright, cancel out of this, and get to that main menu… Wait… that’s not it. Dialing? What’s it dialing? I didn’t want it to dial… Who’s it calling? “So-and-So”… Huh? Oh, So-and-So was that Beautiful one that blew me off and didn’t call back. Why do I still have her number? It says I’m calling her… I’m calling her?... Uh… Oh my God… I’m *calling* her! AHHH!!! CANCEL CANCEL CANCEL CANCEL CANCEL CANCEL!!!!”

Visions of her looking at her “missed call” list and saying, “Oh God… not this guy. I thought he got the hint!” plagued me for the next 3 hours.

Yeah… further proof that my life is a badly-written sitcom.

After that little “3-Stooges” moment… I did delete her number, out of fear of that happening again. Also, it didn’t make sense to hang onto it… as I most likely wasn’t going to hear from her again.

A few weeks later, after I got back from a brief trip to California for a friend’s wedding… during which I attained some minor revelations about other issues in my life… I did some “clean-up”… and deleted some people from MySpace… ones that I didn’t really know, and seem to have no interest in knowing me. So-and-So was one of them.

Now it brings us to about now. 2 months later… 4 months since that initial first date.

So-and-So wrote to me.

It came pretty much out of the blue… she thanked me for the book, said it was thoughtful… and she was sorry for being so inconsiderate for waiting so long to write me. She also said that if I wasn’t “too mad”, she’d like to hang out as friends, as she thinks it would be fun.

Well… I wasn’t ever “mad”. Just disappointed that she seemed uninterested.

But now… does this mean she is/was interested? That’s only the start of my questions…

Does she *really* want to just “be friends”? Because I thought I made it clear that I was looking for *more* than “friends”. I’ve got a lot of friends… several that are already an hour-plus away. I go that much North, I see my Best Friend… I go that way West… I can see another friend. I go that way East, I… end up in the ocean. Okay, East is out… but still.

Is saying “Friends” just a euphemism? Is she trying to undershoot with her words, playing it safe? What exactly are her expectations here?

And what is the impetus for all this? What was the sudden inspiration to write to me after 4 months?

Did she also go out with another guy at the time? Decided to try and pursue something with him, that didn’t work out? Then thought, “Hey, what about that other guy, the one that gave me the Tao of Pooh? I never really gave him a chance…” (If so… I can understand that… that’s fine. Maybe that makes me sound like the Second Choice… but I also tend to look at those kinds of situations as “Second Chances”.)

Did she randomly come across the book in her apartment, and that reminded her of me?

Or did she notice I deleted her off MySpace? *shrug* I have no idea.

I wrote her back the next morning, after sleeping on it. I’m open to the idea of seeing her again… and yes, I’m weary… but I don’t want to reject what could be an opportunity. I was busy that weekend, but I suggested we could plan something for the next weekend.

And that was the truth… She left a great first impression on me… and yeah, the blow-off may have sullied that a bit… and I think I do deserve to know why it took so long… what was the holdup, why was I seemingly being jerked around? But if she’s serious about seeing me again… I can wait until she’s willing to tell me on her own terms.

I sent it off. Didn’t get a reply. One of the neat things about MySpace is that you can go to your “Sent” messages and see whether or not the recipient actually read your e-mail. Well… she apparently didn’t check her e-mail all weekend. In fact, apparently, she didn’t check it until Monday… and she did read it.

As of this writing, she hasn’t responded back.

So… I’m suddenly feeling “jerked around” all over again. Sheesh… why is it when I get someone out of my mind, they try to show up in my life again? Why does anyone think I need the reminder?

I wasn’t mad before… just disappointed… but now I’m getting a bit “upset”. If you contact someone and you’re expecting/hoping for a response… why wouldn’t you try and check your e-mail more often? She probably doesn’t know I no longer have her number… but I’m not going to assume she still has mine... so maybe she just doesn’t get the chance to check e-mail. Okay, I’ll go with that. But when she DOES check it… and reads my response… no reply? I’m sorry… if you have time to read it… you have time to write a fast note saying, “I don’t have much time… here’s my number again, call me so we can plan something. I look forward to it!” There. Voila. That’s all you need. That’s all *I* need. (and when I call… return it!)

But if she honestly didn’t have the time to read or reply to my messages… well, if we *were* to develop into something… when was there going to be time for Me? I understand “being busy”… but guess what? We’re ALL busy. But I *make* the time if I want to see someone.

That’s one of the things on my “Required List”… I want someone who’s willing to MAKE time for me… and I’m under the impression she’s not willing or able to do that.

So why am I torturing myself over all this? Especially when there’s a 95% chance that she probably ISN’T thinking about it.

Cause I’m an idiot. That’s why. (Good thing I’m okay with that…)

So… I wish her well. She’s smart, beautiful, and more than pleasant to be around. I hope she finds what she’s looking for… I just have a sneaking suspicion it’s not me.