On Relationships

There is something to be said about romantic relationships in this world, or at least in America, and that is that they are extremely flawed. Everyone has a desire to love and be loved, and to have someone special who will be by their side and support them forever. This causes an intense drive to find The One, the soulmate, and to lock in their resolve and their belief in their love for one another by committing to one of the most hastily chosen actions in the world: marriage.

As evidenced by the massive divorce rate, as well as the number of existing but unhealthy marriages, the majority of marriages are actually mistakes. (That is to say at least 51%. I make no claims to any specific figure.)

This is where the hardcore believers in marriage are going to immediately argue with me. You might think that a lot of divorcees are just too weak or too selfish to put the work into the relationship to make it work, but that doesn’t make me wrong; their marriage was still a mistake.

If anyone decides to sever a marriage because they’re unhappy with their spouse and can’t or don’t want to make it work, the marriage was a mistake. It doesn’t matter if they can make it work out if they tried; if they don’t have the interest to do so, it would be disingenuous to keep it up just to make others happy by not getting a divorce. Some people even genuinely think that divorce should be illegal. A couple of reasons can be given for this; one is to make people see that marriage is not to be taken lightly, since there is no way out; another would be to encourage people to give it another try, which they obviously would since they have no options, as they are now in a state-enforced marriage from which they cannot escape except by adultery (if the law offers such a provision) or death. There is almost no way for this to be a healthy, happy relationship. It will, at best, be a tense, begrudging illusion of happiness. I’d wager that the rate of spousal murders would increase as well.

The simple truth is that if either married party decides that they would rather terminate the marriage than live with their spouse any longer, it is obvious that the marriage was a mistake.

This usually comes down to a single, simple truth. Barring mental breakdown, insanity, or brain damage fundamentally changing who the person is, the two parties, in all likelihood, just didn’t know one another well enough when they committed to marriage.

That is, of course, the purpose of the courtship period: to get to know one another. But just as people are too hasty to name people their friends, they are too hasty to call their feelings of attraction and infatuation “love”. The entire courtship period is based not only on determining if you want to spend the rest of your life with this person, but also on convincing her that she also wants to spend the rest of her life with you. Without knowing it, many (I dare say most) men will put up facades to appear more appealing to her, and put more effort into things just to win her heart (and vice versa – I’m making no presumptions on gender, just making my pronouns easier.) That’s basic insecurity, and the fundamental flaw in most flawed relationships.

However, what happens when he is comfortable and secure in his standing with her; no longer feels that he has to make her like him? He stops putting up these facades; stops enhancing the truth and being somebody above his real self. He returns to who he is for real, and then, suddenly, the “spark isn’t there anymore.” Unfortunately, this occurs all too often after marriage, and he is now someone different from whom she married; not unrecognizably so, but uncomfortably distant from who he was then.

Even worse than the illusion he creates about himself is when he projects his own fantasy onto her and pretends that she is someone that she is not and doesn’t even pretend to be. On the extreme end of the spectrum, he may choose to be “friends with benefits,” hoping that this girl to whom he is attracted (which can and will only be intensified by frequent sex) will eventually relent and turn this purely physical relationship into a romantic relationship, only to have his heart broken when she finds a guy she actually likes and isn’t just using to fulfill her physical needs. That’s simply trying to get blood from a stone. I’m straying from the subject though, because that never was and never will be a real romantic relationship.

This is where abstinence before marriage appears to be a good idea. Sex often has the power to intensify attraction and therefore encourage false feelings of love and compatibility. This just glazes over a poor personal relationship. A couple must feel joy in their non-physical interactions, otherwise they just have a poor facsimile of love that only looks like it because people who aren’t in love usually don’t have sex.

But really, abstinence is a non-solution because it’s handled so poorly. More often than not, it is a mandate rather than a personal choice. In that case, it’s not unlikely for a couple to marry after six months simply because they’re approaching the end of the early-relationship-euphoria period and now feel that they need to “progress” to the physical portion of their relationship. They then get married, have a lot of sex, start to realize they aren’t who they thought they were when they married, try to bridge that impossible chasm with a lot more sex, then they burn out and get a divorce because they were never actually compatible anyway.

Honesty is the only thing that can make a relationship successful. Facades, illusions, and fantasies will crumble and you will be left, not the Wizard, but the man behind the curtain, defrauding the person who should be most important in your life.

Always be real, and always be yourself. Always expect others to be real, and always expect others to be themselves. The rest will come naturally.

A Rant on Nation Building and Patriotism

It amazes me every time I see a United States citizen attack another United States citizen (verbally; I have yet to see it happen physically, though I don’t doubt that it has) over a disagreement on the validity of military operations that our government is currently carrying out in multiple countries.

We are not at war, yet we have somewhere in the vicinity of 150,000 soldiers on active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our military is battling and killing foreigners every day, yet we are not at war.

I understand the need, after 9/11/2001, for vengeance. It’s a natural (though misled) response to a heinous act, particularly against people to whom you feel a connection. It has been ten years since that act of violence was carried out against us, and we still have 150,000 men on active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Wait… Iraq? What does Iraq have to do with this?

Isn’t that an interesting question?

Saddam Hussein’s regime supposedly had weapons of mass destruction, and this apparently warranted the United States government to invade and put a stop to it. Evidently, our government has appointed themselves as the world police, with jurisdiction in any country they so choose — or rather, any country that they have sufficient military force to dominate.

How long did it take us to determine there were no weapons?

How long has Saddam Hussein been dead? Going on five years.

And we’re still in Iraq. There are still men and women who are fighting and dying on a fallacy. American people still support this, and our soldiers are even willing to die for this, because of “terrorism”.

Every time someone speaks out against the fallacy, against this chain that the government has wrapped around your neck and convinced you was for your own good, the majority has been so hypnotized and brainwashed by the fallacy that it will attack anyone who points out how wrong and backwards it is.

They have been somehow convinced that our military is “defending our freedom.” I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen the attacks consist of a phrase along the lines of, “They are fighting to defend your freedom to say these things.”

This is absolutely, 100% incorrect. In fact, as we continue to root for our troops and fear terrorism, the government pulls the chain tighter and tighter.

You have already lost infinitely more freedom to your own government than you would have if our military never deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq and left things well enough alone.

You now can’t fly without having your privacy agregiously violated. You can’t bring fingernail clippers in your carry-on bag. The police force is becoming increasingly militarized. Police road blocks are commonplace. We have to be careful what we say in public or risk being reported to the police by our neighbors. You can’t sell unprocessed, natural milk. You can’t even grow a garden in your own front yard.

Our military is not fighting for our freedom.

Our military is fighting to distract you from the man behind the curtain, taking your freedom away.

Moreover, these overseas operations continue to suck billions and billions of dollars away while our own country’s economy collapses underneath us.

Do I think our soldiers are murderers? Maybe. With 150,000 of them engaged in the fallacy, there’s no way to give an all-encompassing answer.

Do I think our soldiers are evil? Not necessarily.

Do I hate our soldiers? No. They are all, however, misled.

At the end of the day, everything that our soldiers do to make us proud is based on an enormous web of falsehoods, and is driven by powerful men who want only to become more wealthy and more powerful, and do not care about you.

SteelSeries Siberia v2 Headset

It wasn’t long after I bought my gaming mouse that I bought a gaming headset. What do you know? I’ve suddenly become a gullible butthole!

As much as I hate to admit it, it was this Justin Bieber parody that put me on to the SteelSeries Siberia headset. In the YouTube comments someone was like “DUDE WHAT HEADPHONES IS HE WEARING” and someone else was like “steelseries siberia bro” and I looked at them and I was like “dang those are pretty baller!” (because, like I said, I’m a butthole now.)

Aesthetics mean a lot to me, because after all the audiophiles everywhere were like “Don’t get a gaming headset, it’s a waste of money, get some good Sennheisers and a clip-on microphone!” I just brushed these people off (the people that own $2000 headphones made of exotic wood to authentically recreate the soundstage of London’s Royal Albert Hall, and $2000 amps, pffft, what the heck do they know) and bought me some freakin’ SteelSeries Siberia v2’s.

Well, believe you me, when you go from a pair of 15 dollar speakers on sticks with foam glued to the edges, the Siberias are heavenly, but there’s always a downside in that apparently my head is ginormous, or my ears are freakishly low on my head, because this headset barely fits. I stretch the thing to its limits.

But now whenever I see someone wearing a pair of SteelSeries Siberias and the headband has a lot of slack, I know “That dude has a tiny head.”

Oh yeah, they sound pretty good too.

Yes, I do just hate Apple, but…

I’m planning on picking up a smartphone very soon, most likely an HTC Droid Incredible, but I’m still open to input. The iPhone was never an option, even though it is coming to Verizon soon, mostly because I just hate Apple, but there are a lot of very good, logical reasons not to.

I felt like I needed to save this particular customer review on Amazon.com for posterity.

And if you need any more reasons to hate Apple

Nerf N-STRIKE Recon Project – Day 3

Changed my mind on the Bondo – I would probably screw up a putty compound, get it places I don’t want it, and screw the whole thing up in ways that would be nearly irreversible.

My first thought was thin styrene sheets cut to size and glued over the Nerf logo. This would make a gap between the body of the gun and the styrene panel, but I don’t think it would actually look too bad. Unfortunately, I remembered the other markings – “Warning: Don’t use this toy as a weapon of mass destruction” and so on that the cover up method wouldn’t work on.

Luck set in and a friend of mine has offered to let me use his Dremel. I’d like to just have one myself, but I’m not in the mood to part with the money on something that I’m not certain I’ll be using again anytime in the next two years. I may have to buy my own sanding attachment, but that’s considerably cheaper than the tool itself. This should let me quickly (and perhaps more importantly, accurately) remove the markings.

Nerf N-STRIKE Recon Project – Days 1 and 2

Totally on a whim yesterday, I decided I was going to buy a Nerf gun – one of the really cool N-STRIKE series guns they’ve got out now – and do it up in matte black and stuff for use as a sci-fi prop gun. So I went to Wal-Mart and picked up the Recon CS-6 (the clear version, so I wouldn’t have any choice but to paint it – it’s butt ugly right now) and went off to Lowes for my other supplies.

I already had in mind what I was going to use – Krylon gray primer, Krylon flat black, some sort of olive drab (I’d know it when I saw it), and a clearcoat. Well, Lowes doesn’t carry Krylon, so I went looking for the next item on my list, an X-Acto knife, and… they don’t have those either. What the heck? All I managed to get was a roll of 1.5″ blue painter’s tape and a medium grit sanding sponge. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with the sanding sponge, but I got it anyway.

After that I went back to Wal-Mart and went back to their paint department, where they had a few shelves of Krylon, but not a single can of black. Not flat, not satin, not gloss, nothing black whatsoever.

I went home and played with the gun a little bit. It’s actually a really cool toy, as a magazine-fed dart “rifle”.

Day 2

I took the sanding sponge to the Nerf logo on the side of the gun, since the research I’ve done on painting Nerf guns involved sanding the markings and logos down. Well, that’s pretty much an insane proposition, because I’m sanding down the surrounding area as much as I am the logo itself. I managed to get the orange paint off the Nerf logo and that’s about it, though I only spent about five minutes on it.

I went to ACE Hardware and picked up some Krylon Fusion Camouflage in ultra flat black and ultra flat olive drab green, as well as some matte finish clear coat.

After I got home, I went back to work on sanding the Nerf logos, but I gave up after about five minutes. Given enough time I could wear the logo down, but I’d wear down other stuff that I don’t want to wear down, so my next idea is Bondo. I’ll build up the surface to cover up the logo and sand it flat. I have no idea what I’m doing.

The Nerf Recon is now completely stripped to its base parts and occupying a plastic lined cardboard box. I took pictures before I removed the internals and I’m still not sure I can put the thing back together.

Razer Deathadder – Will It Up Your Game?

You want the short answer?

Too bad.

The Razer Deathadder is an ergonomic gaming mouse, molded for the right hand, but a left handed model is available. It uses an advanced infrared sensor capable of 3500 dpi sensitivity, but let’s be serious… Are you really freakish enough to use movements that small in your FPS escapades?

Well, let’s look at it this way. Before, I was using a Microsoft Wheel Mouse Optical. Yes, one of those, and I had no problem with it. I’ve played Unreal Tournament, Urban Terror, Starcraft, Starcraft II, and plenty of others with this mouse.

But when, after several years the left button stopped clicking reliably, I was looking at mice – planning to replace it with the exact one I had been using – and I started hearing about gaming mice, mostly the Logitech MX518. However, Logitech just sounds… icky. I’ve used a couple of Logitech products in the past and never liked them, plus their gaming mice just look… cheap somehow.

Enter Razer. Of course Razer has been the name in gaming mice since the Boomslang came out in ’98, but I always looked down on them as silly junk peddled to gullible gamers. Somehow, though, I became too intrigued for my own good and started looking seriously at their products until finally I purchased the Deathadder. I figured I didn’t mind spending the money on a mouse that was obviously of high quality and would likely last me a few years, so I went for it.

I had heard that the Deathadder was pretty big, but the first thing I noticed when I unboxed it and plugged it in was… it’s pretty big. I was accustomed to what Razer refers to as the “claw grip” and the “fingertip grip” due to the size of the Microsoft mouse, but the Deathadder just naturally fills my entire hand. It took me a day or two, and lots of fiddling with sensitivity settings, but I’ve come to the conclusion that I really like it. I currently have it set at 1800 dpi with sensitivity set to 6.5, which I assume means it’s functioning at roughly 1170 dpi. So I’m certainly not taking advantage of the power of this fully operational battle station, but I am really enjoying the slightly increased sensitivity, the comfort of the mouse, and definitely the smoothness of its movement. (The Teflon feet on the mouse have it gliding across my bare desk – no mousepad – smooth as butter.)

So will it up your game? Maybe, maybe not. Will it be more comfortable? Well, that’s personal preference, but to me, most definitely!

I’ve Been Too Busy With Starcraft II

It would appear that I haven’t made a post since before Starcraft II came out – I am sorry about that. Whatcha having? … Hamburgers! The cornerstone of any nutritious breakfast. What kind? … No, I mean where they from, Wendy’s, McDonald’s, Burger King? … Big Kahuna Burger! That’s that Hawaiian burger joint, isn’t it? I hear they’ve got some pretty good burgers, I’ve never tried one myself. Mind if I have a bite? … MMMM, that IS a TASTY burger. I don’t usually have hamburgers because my girlfriend’s a vegetarian and that pretty much makes me a vegetarian… but I do like the taste of a good burger.

Comp-Tac MTAC – The First Date

Comp-Tac MTACI received the much-awaited Comp-Tac MTAC holster in the mail yesterday. As I spent the evening at my weekly writers group, I wasn’t able to test it with the gun in it until much later, but I wore the holster all night, partly because I’m weird and partly because I just didn’t feel like taking it off in the Zaxby’s parking lot. This isn’t a good test of the holster’s comfort, but it was never uncomfortable, so take that for what it’s worth.

My main gripe with my old holster was that when sitting down, the gun jabbed into my side. I thought it was the rear of the slide, and the MTAC’s leather backing covers the back end of the slide – perfect, I thought. Then I got home, slipped the Glock into the holster, and sat down, only to be disappointed to find it rammed right into my ribs. It was the grip all along, and the Minotaur holster doesn’t really do anything to stop that. I toyed with positioning and adjusting the cant for some time, and while it did get a bit better, it’s still very, very noticeable while sitting.

Keep in mind that I’m 6 feet tall and weigh roughly 135 pounds. I have NO meat on my ribs, so what I’m thinking is actually that my body shape pretty much makes it impossible to overcome my problem. I have a sort of dip between my hip bone and my rib cage (not quite as gross as it sounds – I don’t look anorexic, I’m just unusually thin) that any holster naturally wants to pull itself into.

I could reduce the holster to a more neutral cant, but this would cause the butt of the Glock to print, or if I moved the holster farther forward (3:00 position) the rear of the slide will start to poke out my shirt, so I’m at an impasse right now. On the bright side, I’ve found the position that, when standing, hides the gun perfectly and is very comfortable. It’s only sitting that I have a problem with, but I’ll keep fiddling with it and update if I come up with anything better.