reality is weirder than you think

Tag: this modern life (page 1 of 3)

Dating in upside-down world: the scientist

I try to be as upfront in online dating situations as possible. Trump and helicopter rides figure prominently in my online dating profiles.

And yet.

Men…no, GUYS/SOY never read the profile, but they’re surprised when I tell them that I voted for Trump. That I’m a Christian. That I’m literally a carnivore no I don’t eat any vegetables, thanks.

I went on a date tonight. File this one under “should have known better.”

He would text me to ask how I was doing. I would answer, and return the question. He would answer, and ask me right back how I was doing. It felt like spiralling down a rabbit hole of recursion.

I still went out to dinner with him. File that under “should have known better” and being new in a small town. I honestly don’t think that I’ve been on a date with someone more opposite from me in my entire life.

  • Berniebro, but voted for Hillary anyway (where is your self respect, man?)
  • Gave this big speech about how you can believe what you want, religion-wise, but later in the evening decried freedom of vaccination
    • It seemed like it was a new idea to him that the world is fundamentally fallen/flawed/corrupted by sin, and that it will be utterly impossible for any human being to fix the world (from a Christian perspective)
  • Thinks that in 10 years we’ll be able to wipe out an entire microbiome with antibiotics and replace it (I think we’ll be luck to have a good map of the microbiome in 10 years let alone antibiotics powerful enough to kill those buggers)
    • Like any devoted researcher, decried the idea of citizen science (it must be engineered to have the right effect, after all)
  • Namechecked Plato with the AI singularity as his ideal philosopher king (I would have brought up the issue of AI veering alt-right….RIP Tay…but he didn’t let me get a word in edgewise)
  • Did not let me finish when I tried to talk to him back about one of these things
  • No questions about me. At all. Just a handwavy “what are you expecting to get out of this” with no actual question attached.
    • [Edit] My bad, he did ask me what I did for a living

Honestly, he’s probably on twitter right now complaining about how he went on this date with a brainwashed Christian anti-vaxxer.

I’m trying not to be too picky. I realize it will be a statistical anomaly if I get married at my age, especially with my views on the world. But good gracious I would rather be single forever than chain myself to a soyboy like that.

I’m filing this under “this might be funny,” because it might. If you look at it in a blacklight with a mirror.

Petty Authoritarianism

I used to be afraid of becoming a “petty bureaucrat.” You know them–those people who staff the customer services windows at the DMV or who horde secrets at work, forcing you to jump through their inane little hoops before giving you what you want. Not all people are like this, but enough are.

Now that I’ve had more experience with these types of people, I know that it’s unlikely I would go down that path. I hate telling people what to do and what everybody to make their own choices and forge their own path.

Yes, people need to follow the rules–but we also want to do things like “be ethical” and “follow the law.”

There’s a huge difference between the law and someone’s personal authoritarian tendencies.

Shepard Fairey is one of those people that I agree with on the WRONGNESS of things but not on the cause of that wrongness.

Lately it seems like the authoritarian left has become increasingly prominent and increasingly baldfaced about their strategy and tactics.  Everywhere you look, there are examples of the modern leftist ideal of central planning, the hubris of any human being thinking that they are far-seeing enough to dictate the outcomes of any sort of endeavor.

Maybe I’m just seeing it more clearly now.

  • PowerPoint presentations that project song lyrics in church instead of printing words in the bulletin or using hymnals. Doing it this way strips the congregation of the ability to orient themselves in the song and demands that they submit to the authority of the worship musicians (who inevitably is LARPing as an indie band) and the PowerPoint person.
  • The trend in higher education to dictate learning outcomes for each course and even each lesson. No matter if a certain class is ill prepared and won’t ever get there, or if certain people already know the “knowledge” that will be imparted to them and instead get a lesson in outsmarting the teacher or how to navigate the politicized classroom. It’s ludicrous to think that you could dictate the exact outcomes of a teaching/learning session–especially when you think about the fact that most worthy discoveries come when you’re not expecting them.
  • Obligatory bullet point on preferred pronouns.
  • Going to the doctor and having your entire visit, from questioning to treatment plans, dictated by the coding practices for the insurance companies.

These are more systematic than one-off user implementations, but you can see that every day there are little situations that are designed (?) to make us submit to an arbitrary authority.

No wonder we are losing our will to fight.


Backwards book review: Amusing Ourselves to Death

Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death is an interesting look at the way people engage and interact with the world.

I first read it six or seven years ago, before my eyeballs were fully opened to the magnitude of fake news and general non-truth-seekiness that pervades the world.

Somebody on Twitter mentioned in this week, since it’s pretty relevant to what’s happening in our world these days–the degeneration of civil discourse, people who are unable to converse beyond sound bites, the dissipation of nuance.

It’s on the docket to read again, but I figured it might be fun to write about what I remember about the book before rereading it. That way, we can see what stuck from the first time around. Or we can laugh at what I completely misremembered.

It’ll be fun! Like turning a book review inside out.

Here’s what I remember about Amusing Ourselves to Death:

  • I think the main idea of the book was that because of television and other visual media, we are becoming a post-literate society. The primacy of the written word is giving way to the primacy of the image, which doesn’t allow for the precision and nuance that the written word does. (I’m reminded of emojis when I think of this.)
  • Postman points out that many people are afraid of falling into a 1984-style linguistic dictatorship, but Postman sees our society going more the way of A Brave New World. People abandon the pursuit of truth in pursuit of feelings (“the feelies”) of their own volition.
  • I remember Postman contrasting the ability of people in the past to hold long arguments in their memories with our short sound-bite attention spans now. I believe this was illustrated with the Lincoln-Douglass debates, and how both the debaters and the crowd needed to additional notes or written material to make their cases or keep up with the conversation.
  • I remember disagreeing with him about something. I can’t recall if it was something about his tone (dang kids get off my lawn) or if it was something related to visual communication (because sometimes a diagram is more efficient in conveying information than a paragraph).
  • But I do remember becoming very uncomfortable with the idea of seeking amusement or entertainment above all. So much is done now FOR THE LULZ, or in my case when I’m stuck at work, for the amusement-factor that I wonder if we’re losing an element of the serious and the sacred. Not totally sure it’s in the book, but definitely related.

I think that just about wraps it up.

Will report back in when I’ve reread the book.


Google doesn’t want me switching to Protonmail

But don’t worry Google, I’m not abandoning my gmail account just yet.

Tonight I decided it was high time that this blog had an email to it, so I decided to try out Protonmail.

Easy, right? Head on over to, read through the features. Sounds good. The tech team is throwing its high-academic credentials around, which worries me a little, but there are good guys everywhere who are worried about privacy. The servers are in Switzerland. Everything checks out–let’s proceed.

Then I clicked “sign up.”

And Google Chrome crashed.

That was weird.

Undaunted, I reopened Chrome and restored my old tabs. One of them had an interesting article about an artist’s journey, which I was planning to share here tonight.

Before any of the pages could load, Chrome crashed again.

Double weird.

Now, it’s possible that the Protonmail site just doesn’t like my older version of Chrome (long story about refusing to switch to the Adobe Creative Cloud). Sometimes my version of Chrome doesn’t like brand-new features on many websites. But I find it curious that the Protonmail homepage loaded just fine for me until I clicked the “sign up” button. After that, it would never load again.

It could be that this is all just a coincidence. (I don’t believe in coincidences.)

It could be that Google is gaslighting its users into staying with gmail. (I wouldn’t put it past them.)

Or it could be a memetic signal that it’s time to get off Google.

Anyway, email me at batfort at protonmail dot com if you want to get in touch.


Edit: I checked for browser compatibility and my version of Chrome is supposedly supported. [crying laugh emoji]

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.

“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.

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?

Can you make a magazine that isn’t propaganda?

And if so, do you want to?

I’ve decided to seriously pursue the magazine idea. I’ve wanted a non-leftist style-type magazine for as long as I can remember, one that is focused on truth and beauty and actual real ways that actual real people live their lives. Everyday glamour, maybe.

Pretty much the opposite of the “aspirational” paged of Vogue, but with crossover for a lot of content.

Darling has made a good start.

But I also miss the irreverence brought by Sassy and Jane. It’s never worth treating the fashion and beauty industry with too much seriousness.

I’d also like to see a magazine that addresses issues in my own life. How to be a red-pilled gal in a blue-pilled world. How to gracefully tell your hostess that, sorry, you don’t eat food that grew from the ground. How to reconcile your love of pretty shoes with the functionality of the Vibram 5-fingers.

(Don’t get me started on the Vibrams that are designed to have shoe-like design details. Blech.)

I don’t know what that magazine would look like, but I’d like to find out.

So to start, I’m going to take a look at the history, structure, and content of other successful ladies magazines.

First up: the Ladies’ Home Journal.

Remember how recently I went on a giant rant about magazines basically being propaganda?

What I didn’t realize was that magazines have always been this way.

At the turn of the 20th century, the magazine published the work of muckrakers and social reformers…. During World War II, it was a particularly favored venue of the government for messages intended for homemakers…. In March of 1970, feminists held an 11-hour sit-in at the Ladies’ Home Journals office, which resulted in them getting the opportunity to produce a section of the magazine that August.

Magazines: telling you what to buy and what to think since the steam-powered printing press.

So my question is: can you have a non-propagandic magazine? Would someone read such a publication?

Or is a magazine simply a physical manifestation of our desire to believe in something?

A laughable protest

What a joke, the Golden Globes “time’s up” protest. Like it’s such a hardship to show up wearing black–nobody has to be too inconvenienced–and nobody’s dressed in a way to deter a sexual predator. Dresses are still plunging to there and slit up to here.

I can’t decide if they’re all idiots who never thought past the initial this-would-be-such-a-good-idea phone call to what such an event would really say, or if they’re maliciously trying to cover their tracks. Either way, they don’t seem to think that we see through their facade.

If they were seriously about protesting sexual assault in Hollywood, they would do something substantial (such as, perhaps, quit in protest or name names other than the disgraced Weinstein) instead of throwing one of their favorite yearly parties of mutual admiration and back-scratching with the a feeble warble of “we’re wearing black look at us we’re protesting.”

Meanwhile, people literally at the event–both attendees and award winners–are known or rumored sexual predators.

And it’s not just the men that have problems.


It’s one thing to look past differing political views to enjoy a work of fiction. I did that for years with scifi and fantasy entertainment.

It’s quite another to knowingly support an industry that does nothing to police its members, and fails to protect its innocents.

And it’s especially egregious when they put on a show like this pretending exactly the opposite.

“I can’t believe that big bad man leered at me. I mean, I know I’m hot but he just can’t do that!! I’ll wear an even shorter skirt tonight–that’ll sure show him.”

Top five posts of 2017

It’s the end of the year, when it’s instinctive (or is merely traditional?) to look back and tally how we’ve been doing.

Even though this blog has only been in existence for about six months, I’ve always been curious about what the top posts are. A handful of title always pop up in my “Site Stats” area.

Let’s see if we can learn any lessons.

1. N=many is go!

While I very much regret to say that I didn’t finish the initial 90-day carnivore cohort over at N Equals Many, I was really excited to help out at first. I’m still definitely a carnivore, but I stopped tracking around 30 days in at the end of September. This is mostly because the “roller coaster” portion of my year kicked in and I prioritized keeping my sanity amidst getting a new job and moving, instead of trying to track everything. If you’re interested in carnivory, join us during World Carnivore Month in January 2018.

Anyway, I linked to NEqualsMany from that post, and I get traffic from the pingback.


2. A metric: the Creative Achievement Questionnaire 

This one surprises me, as it was born on a day that I had no idea what to write. I was looking around for a “quiz” or fillable question set to use as a template, and since Jordan B Peterson was on my mind, I found this questionnaire. It’s an interesting metric to check creative achievement against. I appreciate how it encompasses all different types of creativity, including scientific and architectural achievement. I question if someone can be truly well-rounded in this modern era of fine-tuned achievements, but it’s still a fun way to measure. Since posting this, I haven’t moved earned any new points, but I’m building a plan to do so in the next six months.

There’s no pingback on the post that I linked to, so people must find it from search.


3. Photo of the week: I hate dating edition

Ah, when I was new in town and spending a lot of time on Tinder and had just launched a series called “photo of the week.” Dating still sucks, and I try to avoid being in those positions.

I linked to this one on Twitter and tagged the person who took the photos, so it makes sense that this post gets traffic.


4. A very personal review of The Promethean by Owen Stanley

My very first fiction review! It’s not a great review, objectively, because my book reviews are very green at this point in my writing career. My thoughts are numerous, but I am not yet disciplined at corralling them into strings of paragraphs that make sense. I always want to tell the truth, but sometimes it’s difficult to write the truth of what I think about something with the thought in mind that the author could read it. The double-edge sword of the internet, I suppose.

I suspect that this post gets hits because I doubt there are very many reviews of it out there, especially outside of Amazon.


5. People who naturally write in passive voice

This is an old post. “Old.” Back at the beginning of this blog, I challenged myself to come up with a longer piece each week, like a weekly column. This was the first establishment (of two), and it gave me an excuse to delve into a people and writing problem that had been bothering me.

No idea where there traffic on this one comes from, which is kinda cool. Looks like I should write more of these long, introspective (extrospective?) posts.


In conclusion, there’s not much similarity between the five posts. The breadth represents most of the topics that I write about, except for fashion and k-pop.

It’s fascinating to me that only two of the posts had easily-identifiable pingback links. Perhaps I can extrapolate new blog ideas to explore from the organic traffic-attracting posts–like doing more looking into “creative achievement.”

It’s also obviously worth writing about my life as a carnivore, and writing book reviews.

But I’m still going to write what I want. That’s how I made it this far, and how I’ll make it another six months.

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