reality is weirder than you think

Month: January 2018 (page 1 of 4)

Spotted: Aristotle vs Plato

I like the meme that the script for 2018 has already jumped the shark, even if I don’t believe in the idea that someone is scripting our days. I do, however, believe in #NOCOINCIDENCES even when they are less important and more amusing.

This one falls mostly under amusing–but that might depend on how you view Ben Shapiro.

Given that:

A. Vox Day and Ben Shapiro have a history. (Hint: they don’t like each other.)


B. Vox recently posted this observation:

At its core, the left-right divide all comes down to the most basic principles.

Left = Plato. Anti-Christian. Anti-family. Imperialist.
Right = Aristotle. Christian. Pro-family. Nationalist.


I find it incredibly amusing that Shapiro himself brings up the fact that he plays Plato to Jordan B Peterson’s Aristotle on the Rubin Report.

“What’s fascinating about this is Jordan may be closer to Aristotle than I am to Plato, but we almost have a Platonic versus Aristotelian argument going on here.”

Since we seem to be still in the process of choosing teams, now that the battle lines have been drawn, I figured that this would be worth pointing out.

Did you dress yourself this morning? (Or did your hormones?)

I had planned an outfit for this morning. A basic sweater, work pants. A pair of flats to be determined by the weather. Nothing fancy.

And yet, I ended up at work wearing a fine mesh turtleneck with roses all over it and strappy leopard print flats. Plus a cardigan.

You see, the rational part of my brain thought I was making a valid decision. The pants were tight, and so was the sweater, so we needed to swap one of those pieces out for something looser. Like a cardigan. Which naturally needs something to be worn under it and since we can’t wear the top we wore yesterday, let’s go with this floral top, and ooh look right here is a tank to throw underneath to make it work appropriate.

So I ended up at work wearing 1. something sheer that also happens to be a 2. large, romantic floral, with 3. “sexy” leopard print shoes. Also earrings, which are usually the first thing I skip when I’m tired.

All hallmarks of a sexy outfit, adjusted for work.

I suspect what actually happened was that my hormones hijacked my clothing for their own purposes.

It is documented that a woman’s menstrual cycle can impact everything from what she wears to what type of man she’s attracted to. For instance, there’s a study that shows that women wear fewer and more feminine clothes (ie, show more skin) when they’re ovulating. Lots of hormones swimming around.

I would extrapolate that because of the fluctuating nature of the female cycle, many behavioral tendencies are tethered thereupon.

In my own n=1 observations, for instance, everything goes crazy right before my menstrual cycle begins–the rage instinct, sex drive, everything is all jumbled up clouding my judgement.

And influencing me to wear sexy clothes to work.

Spoiler alert: I’m menstruating today.

I’ve noticed this pattern for a while–that I tend to dress up on day 1 of the cycle–but I always chalked it up to overcompensation for being tired.

Today, though, I realized that it wasn’t just overcompensation–it was peacocking.


How about you–do you pay attention to what you wear when? Have your hormones ever goaded you into wearing something crazy?

Coping with the Absurdity Bubble

Today I realized that I was being unreasonable.

No matter what I may think, I can’t change the way that other people behave. Nor can I change their work output. I’m not the boss.

So instead of wailing and gnashing my teeth over the Absurdity Bubble that I’ve found myself in, I need to get real and deal with it head on.

No more headdesking over things that I think should be more rational.

No more internal crying over incoherent design that I think should be clearer.

That’s getting caught in the SHOULD, which is the absolute worst place to get caught.

SHOULD is automatically a losing proposition.

I need to stop thinking about myself, and my standards, and my own ego.

I need to instead start thinking about the people who actually have to use the product.

They are the ones at the mercy of the absurdity bubble.

I’m just a messenger. A facilitator. A translator.

It’s becoming increasingly clear to me that I won’t be able to impact the content of what I’m working on, but maybe I can tweak the design enough to help it become an actionable, useable thing.

My job is to make the unreasonable, reasonable. Or at least palatable.

A spoonful of sugar and all that.

So what did Mary Poppins do that was so effective?

  • Never explained herself.
  • Always had a few tricks up her sleeve.
  • Constantly amazed everyone around her.
  • Self-confident to the point of irrationality.
  • Occasional disappearances.
  • Bent reality to her will.
  • Always had fun.
  • Found friends in strange places.

Clearly, there are few greater role models than Mary Poppins. Disney aside, this is a lady I want to emulate.

Someday I’ll find a real role model. In the meantime, there’s fictional characters.


New Adult and College Romance

Market research for one of my undisclosed new year’s goals.

1 Midnight Blue LJ Shen $2.99 5 (807) KU
2 The Rebound Winter Renshaw $0.99 4.5 (364) KU
3 Turn (Country Generations) Cora Brent $0.99 5 (183) KU
4 Claiming His Mountain Bride Madison Faye $0.99 4.5 (196) KU
5 The Dom’s Bride: A BDSM Romance Penelope Bloom $0.99 4.5 (150) KU
6 Amber (Red Hot Love Series Book 1) Elle Casey $4.99 4 (38) KU
7 Bastards & Whiskey (Top Shelf Book 1) Alta Hensley $0.99 4.5 (208) KU
8 #Starstruck (A #Lovestruck Novel) Sariah Wilson $3.99 5 (201) KU
9 A Discovery of Witches: A Novel (All Souls Trilogy, Book 1) Deborah Harkness $1.99 4.5 (5,452)
10 Delivering Her Secret: A Secret Baby Romance Kira Blakely $0.99 4.5 (294) KU
11 Saving Mel: A Bad Boy Romance Rye Hart $0.99 5 (302) KU
12 Big Man Penny Wylder $3.99 4.5 (206) KU
13 Mountain Man’s Baby Plan Nikki Chase $0.99 4.5 (66) KU
14 Ruthless Kira Blakely $0.99 4.5 (340) KU
15 Dirty Obsession Ella Miles $0.99 4.5 (59) KU
16 Inserparable Siobhan Davis $0.99 4.5 (183) KU
17 The Better Brother: A Bad Boy Romance Rye Hart $0.99 4.5 (337) KU
18 The Matchmaker’s Playbook [Kindle in Motion] (Wingmen Inc. 1) Rachel Van Dyken $4.99 4.5 (761) KU
19 Surprise Daddy Nicole Snow $0.99 4.5 (257) KU
20 Big Stranger’s Baby: A Bad Boy Secret Baby Romance BB Hamel $0.99 4.5 (195) KU

Some observations:

Be on Kindle Unlimited. The only book that’s not on KU is a “legit” novel that’s been around for years.

Bad boys and alpha males sell. So do secrets. The “secret baby” theme is a little surprising to me.

Price at $0.99 unless you have really good reviews.

Don’t be afraid to be obvious.

Put a muscley shirtless man on the cover. Also cursive text.

Pen name should be short, punchy, memorable, and googlable (ie Sariah over Sarah).

PSA: Not every performance needs a standing ovation

I went to the symphony tonight, and enjoyed myself. The performance was good.

(It was not great.)

And yet, the audience gave a standing ovation.

You know that bit when the rest of the audience is standing and you’re kind of peer pressured to stand up too? I hate that.

Standing ovations should (ugh I’m using that word) occur when a performance went above and beyond what is normal.

The problem is, many people these days don’t either 1. play an instrument to a level where they are no longer impressed that someone else can play that instrument too, and/or 2. don’t see very many live performances. So any performance is impressive.

That’s true–it’s pretty cool that we humans can cultivate our talents and show them off to each other in a meaningful way–and that’s why we invented applause.

When every show gets a Standing O, nobody gets a Standing O.

Image of the week: Spread the JBP word edition

In honor of sitting my parents down and making them watch the interview, here’s a meme for you.

There’s plenty of examples that can illustrate the clash between old media and new media, but this one is especially satisfying.

Not that it was a straight-up victory–because it wasn’t–but it was incredibly obvious what the interviewer was up to. Part of that was the skill that Jordan B Peterson turns the interview back around on Cathy Newman.

It’s getting more and more obvious that the media has an agenda. They can’t help themselves anymore.

The cracks are getting wider, and it will be glorious when the dam bursts.

“Do you want me to be Christian?”

I should really start playing “bad date bingo.”

How cruel would it be to take out a bingo card during a date and mark off one of the squares? (Okay, I wouldn’t do that.)

But there are repeating elements of a not-great date, enough that you could make a bingo card if you wanted to.

Let’s be real: I have opinions. I try to have an open mind about the form of a good man, and his interests, and all those other things. But I do have some non-negotiables.

For instance, as a Christian, I would greatly prefer to seriously date or marry a Christian man. Shocking, I know.

I usually try to bring this up early, as it’s kind of a big deal to me.

If that’s not you, hey it’s fine. Maybe we just shouldn’t date each other.

However, there’s a subset of guys–maybe about a third–who can’t or won’t take this as an acceptable answer. Maybe it’s cognitive dissonance. They like me so much, that they can’t see the objective reality that will prevent our relationship from working out.

(Do I sabotage it myself? Maybe. But you can’t say I didn’t give them a fair warning.)

So they dance. The skittering, justifying, pretzel-twisting mental dance of trying to twist around all their thoughts and words into something that slightly somehow kind of resembles what I’m looking for.

It is the most unattractive thing.

“I’m not what you’re attracted to? Well then let me become that. What is it again?”

Guys. Stand for something. Something that you want. Your mission.

Don’t let it be dependent on a girl. Please.

A lot of people will tell you that the old advice of “be yourself” doesn’t work if you’re not getting dates. That is true on one level–if you keep acting in the same way, of course your situation isn’t going to change.

But pushing yourself to act in a new way doesn’t mean becoming whatever she wants you to be.

Be you. Have your mission.

And then find the girl who complements you.


I feel like this post, while written to men, was really written to myself.


Today is a day when I tend to self-reflect, so I’m diving back into my Future Authoring account.

I’m sad that there isn’t a date on it, because I would have LOVED to have known when I wrote this, but I think it was sometime in the summer of 2017. About six months ago, actually.

In six months, I want to be out of [my old job]. No more. This place is a shithole. In two years, I want to be making enough online that I could be considering cutting the cord and supporting myself only on my earnings. In five years, i want to have a comfortable routine writing and editing and publishing books

This makes me laugh (both in the “it’s funny” way and the “tell for cognitive dissonance” way), and I’m so very glad that I opened this back up at this moment in time.

First, the shithole comment. I love synchronicity like that. Sometimes I wonder if I wait too long to do a thing, but then when I do do the thing, it will reference something that I just learned about which would have been completely lost on me had I done the thing earlier. I can never figure out if it’s confirmation bias or if it’s evidence that I have a guardian angel or something. The prominence of the word shithole in my self-assessment and in the media today indicates, to me, that I’m still somehow on the right track.

Second, my five-year vision/goal/whatever scares the spit out of me. Which is funny, considering that the six-month goal is already accomplished and I didn’t even realize I was doing it. Looking back on what I wrote, it all rings true, but I don’t remember writing it. I never once thought about my FutureAuthoring profile as I interviewed for the job and moved to a completely different state. Not once.

Yet I accomplished my goal. And it was easier–once the time was right–than I thought it would be.

It astonishes me how much we can accomplish when we work toward something, even if that something is completely unconscious. When I quit my autoimmune medications, I never consciously made a decision to quit. I just started acting as if I had quit, with the option to reschedule my next infusion if we got to that point.

(Spoiler: we never got to that point.)

You have to do the work, there’s no getting around that, but if you do the work eventually you will look up and you’ll be out of the swamp into the mountains.

The unlikely influence of Earthsea

Ursula K LeGuin died recently. Her book A Wizard of Earthsea was one of my biggest influences growing up.

I’ve never read much else from her, although I should. The original Earthsea trilogy was good, but the 4th book veered into weird territory that didn’t make sense to me. I’m old-school and archetypal like that.

I’ve heard that she disliked her earlier writings (like my favorite) because they were too traditional and patriarchal, and felt like she “found her voice” when she started injecting feminism in her work. I read The Disposessed, which was interesting for a while but ended sour and preachy. I hate it when books do that.

I keep meaning to read The Left Hand of Darkness. Maybe now is a good time to do that.

When I lived in Portland, I met her once. She signed my copy of A Wizard of Earthsea and was very quiet and writerly. It turns out I lived in her neighborhood for a few years, but I never passed her on the sidewalks or in the park.

Here is my favorite passage from Earthsea. Our hero, Ged, has just escaped the embodiment of evil–the shadow–only to fall into temptation of unlimited power by Benderesk, Lord of the Terrenon, and the Lady Serret. “Only darkness can defeat the dark,” she says.

Ged’s eyes cleared, and his mind. He looked down at Serret. “It is light that defeats the dark,” he said stammering,–“light.”

As he spoke he saw, as plainly as if his own words were the light that showed him, how indeed he had been drawn here, lured here, how they had used his fear to lead him on, and how they would, once they had him, have kept him. They had saved him from the shadow, indeed, for they did not want him to be possessed by the shadow until he had become a slave of the Stone, then they would let the shadow into the walls, for a gebbeth was a better slave even than a man. If he had once touched the Stone, or spoken to it, he would have been utterly lost. Yet, even as the shadow had not quite been able to catch up with him and seize him, so the Stone had not been able to use him–not quite. He had almost yielded, but not quite. He had not consented. It is very hard for evil to take hold of an unconsenting soul.

I love A Wizard of Earthsea because it is a little book about fear–where it comes from, how it chases you, and how you and you alone must stare it in the face and defeat it.  You might think that Dune is a book about fear. Dune does indeed have the great Litany Against Fear, but it is one player on a stage of many things. The hero’s journey in Earthsea revolves around fear. It is an intimate, terrifying portrait.

This passage reminds me how easily we–especially those of us who understand some of the unseen undergirdings of the universe–can be tempted by power that is much bigger than us, that reveals all that we want to know and be. Power that would ultimately enslave us, because it is false.

This passage reminds me to keep up the good fight, and not give in to temptation. And yet, it also gives me hope–for even though I will stumble, I do not consent.

That idea–that evil cannot take you without your consent–is I think what marks the heroic men and women who stare evil in the face to investigate or prosecute or report or even just bear witness and who do not give into it.

We are not perfect. We will tremble. But evil cannot touch us if we do not allow it.

There’s a reason we are given a shield of faith and a sword of the spirit.

One of my failings in life is that I have not faced my fear, my shadow self, in a manner that would be worthy of Ged. I have stared fear in the face, certainly, and lived my life, but there are still places where fear has its claws burrowed in.

Now. Rewind to 2011, when I was first introduced to the band Gatsbys American Dream. I will have to write a whole post about them. Writing the paragraphs above made me tear up, but trying to put into words how I feel about Gatsbys makes me remember why I hate the world.

Their masterpiece is Volcano. Musically, it is pop-punk but asymmetrical and interesting. The songwriting is delicious. The album is cohesive, wrapping around to reference itself with music and lyrics. It is a beautiful package tied up with a little bow (my favorite).

And then. You barely hear it, a plaintive but insistent piano melody. It builds in intensity, and you finally catch ahold of some lyrics:

My pride ripped a hole in the world that set loose…a shadow….

I sail into jaws of the dragon: a beast before me, a shadow behind me….

“Is this…a song about Earthsea?” you think to yourself. “I thought I was the only person in the WORLD who cares about that little book.” You listen again. It still fits. You are excited, but realize that the likelihood of a lesser-known song of an indie band is highly unlikely to be based on your 12-year-old self’s favorite book. You decide that whatever you learn about the lyrics to that song, you’ll always pretend it’s about Earthsea even if it isn’t.

Lyrically, all of Volcano based on science fiction and fantasy. Books, video games, television. Ender’s Game makes an appearance, as does Interview with a Vampire.

Rest assured, friend, this really is a song about Sparrowhawk and his shadow.

I’m so glad to live in a world where…

Donald J Trump is president of the United States of America.

like the fact that Donald J Trump is president, contrary to what my 16-year-old self would have believed.

K-pop exists, and makes everyone just a little bit happier.

I can write an appreciation post about anything that I want.

Trees are the most beautiful creatures.

Polar bears live very, very far away from me. Also scorpions.

Tazmania exists.

We can pass true information (not just “official” information) to each other through the internet.

Cast iron pans create a crispy crust on steaks. (Now I just gotta stop overcooking them.)

Every day is a new leaf unfurled, a new adventure, full of promise and lulz and accomplishments.


We live in the best timeline–don’t we, folks?

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