For reasons unclear to me, ISIS has threatened to cut out the tongues of anyone who calls them "Daesh". I've about had it up to my eyeballs with Daesh. My initial reaction on hearing about yet another terrorist attack - the latest being in a soccer stadium in Baghdad - is "Holy crap, give it a rest already." I am tired of the spineless, murdering scumsuckers of Daesh committing their spineless, scumsucking murders with virtual impunity. In the recent past I referred to Daesh as a filth-borne disease, but really, that's unfair to diseases, which have no minds and are only doing what they've evolved to do. What excuse does Daesh have, other than having chosen to be monsters? Daesh, collectively, is the lowest form of life on planet Earth. I have decided this week that if God were to grant me any one desire of my soul, it would be to wipe Daesh into oblivion. But that won't happen, because part of the purpose in life is that scumsuckers like Daesh get to make their choices and create opposition for actual humans. Daesh Daesh Daesh Daesh Daesh.
Last Monday I found myself faced with a dilemma - should I go to the stake dance which would probably be, not to put too fine a point on it, lame, or to the showing of a movie that was kind of decent but kind of mediocre? The former was the scheduled home evening activity, the latter held on campus in the HPER pool and billed as a "Flick N' Float" (they should have just called it a "Dive-in Movie"). The former would possibly be attended by people I knew and cared about, the latter would more likely be a bunch of strangers. The former would probably just have cookies or something, the latter was guaranteed to have pizza. But then I remembered that I don't like the Marketplace's pizza. So the dance it was. That was the right decision because they had not only cookies but also cheese puff balls. A banner on one wall said "March Madness" so that you would know it was supposed to be March Madness themed. Apparently that's some sports term or something, but it only makes me think of hares in heat.
Then Debbie showed up, so I knew as long as I stayed near her it wouldn't be lame after all. At one point an old person with a camera gestured for her and her friends to pose for a picture, and I wasn't sure if I was included in that or if it was a ladies only thing, so I hesitated a bit before jumping in and trying to look somewhat human. Left to right: Me, Debbie, one of Debbie's friends, one of Debbie's other friends.
Me: May I post it on my blog if I blur your faces?
Debbie: Don't blur our faces unless you can't stand the sight of them, haha, then do what you must. *wink*
Me: I like your face a lot.
I talked to a girl who was sitting in the corner by herself because she had just moved here from Texas and didn't know anybody. She didn't have a Texas accent so I said, "You don't have a Texas accent" and she said "That's because I'm from the city." Then later on she said "You don't have a New York accent" and I was like "Oh" and she said "That was a counterattack" and I was like "Oh" and she said "Because you said I don't have a Texas accent" and I was like "Oh." Then a slow song came on so I asked her to dance, and she said "I haven't danced in five years" and I said "You haven't been to a dance or anything in five years?" and she said "No, I'm antisocial" and that was so attractive. But she sure seemed pretty determined to lead. "Dancing is kind of like creative writing," she said. "You're writing your story." What the heck does that mean? Then she had to go, and I was super confident and I asked for her number and she gave me one, and I Googled it to make sure it wasn't a rejection hotline and ended up at a classified ad she had taken out recently so I knew it was actually legit. I was hoping we would become really good friends so that I could play with the dog she mentioned having. But then I texted her the next day and she never responded. Insert flippant remark to pretend that didn't hurt at all.
The next day the caucuses to one or the other of which all Mormons in Utah have been exhorted to go were held. Running slightly late, I was at the crosswalk when a girl rode up on her scooter and asked if I knew how to get there. I said yes and when my directions confused her I asked if she just wanted to follow me and she said sure. I had been heading for the transit center to take the bus, but because she had slowed me down we missed the buses, and that was just fine with me because it was in that direction anyway. We talked on the way there and then we were split up because we lived in different precincts but I asked if she wanted to meet up again afterward and she said sure. Then I went and waited in line for an hour to go to a twenty-minute meeting in an obscenely hot and crowded classroom. We met up afterward and before we could really start talking again someone else came along and offered her a ride, and she accepted it because "I'm wary about the dark", which was obviously a polite way of saying "I'm concerned about getting raped", which is obviously legit albeit tragic. I got a number from her too, though I don't know whether this one was accurate, but in either case I never got a response from that one either. Insert flippant remark to pretend that didn't hurt at all.
I've never understood why unwarranted confidence is considered a virtue. If I had never tried, I would have had a much happier week. But perhaps I can help others. 22 year old Muslim police officer and Computer Science bachelors' student from Pakistan seeks American wife to facilitate his immigration to the United States. If interested, please contact him via Facebook. This is not a joke.
I don't like being in a class called "Literary Analysis" because it makes me feel pretentious, as in, "Oh yes, I am just on my way to Literary Analysis, which is where literary analysts such as myself go to analyze literature." I just want to enjoy stories and poems. I couldn't care less if the giant insect biting down on the key represents his masculinity. Well, I'm being forced to be extremely pretentious by a very strange assignment we're doing now. Using Amanda Holzer's "Love and Other Catastrophes - A Mix Tape" as an archetype, we each had to rewrite Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis as a playlist and then write an essay about the playlist, referring to ourselves, as the authors, in third person. And then bring it to the writing center for feedback so total strangers can see how pretentious we are.
Recently someone asked, "How do you come up with character names?" Even though none of you asked, meaning that you presumably don't care, I decided to share my answer here so that all aspiring writers can benefit from it. And the answer is... I just think. I have no special process. Sorry. Many of the names I come up with are alien names, so I just make up stuff that sounds alien to me. Sometimes I toy with something a little to make it sound better. One time I named a character "Hamsor" after Homsar from Homestar Runner. Once in a while, as I'm lying in bed - I say "in bed" even though I sleep on the couch every night by choice - a name pops into my mind unbidden and I have to get up and write it down because I won't remember it in the morning. That's how I got "Deeth Gorseeta", which I think sounds cool, and if you disagree you can just keep your negativity to yourself. But there's no special process.
Picking people names is about the same thing other than the obvious fact that I don't make them up altogether. It's important to make sure that none of the major characters have similar names that could be confusing. It's often best if none of them even start with the same letter. The only time that creating a character name really involved a drawn-out process was for my major protagonist in Space Girls (working title), Jane Padgett. I knew I wanted to use the name Jane because it's so simple yet lovely, but I wasn't sure what last name I wanted to go with it. This was back in high school and literally what I did was look at the other students - not just my classmates, but all the students, since it was such a small school that everyone knew virtually everyone else's name - throughout the day and test out their last names with it. I ended up using one of my sister's best friend's last names. She still doesn't know. The name of her partner, Lillis Hawker, was just lifted wholesale from a passing acquaintance. She still doesn't know unless she happens to have read the letter I wrote her and never sent.
Recently a friend vented at me about her father being a misogynistic cretin and finished, "I figured I could vent at you since you're kind of a feminist." I instinctively bristled at that because I don't like having labels attached to me and there are a lot of prominent self-proclaimed feminists that I would be embarrassed to be associated with. I suppose it was meant as a compliment, but if so, I don't know that I deserve it. I don't seem passionate enough to wear that label. Here's me talking to a "real" feminist...
I am acutely aware that women are capable of cruelty and evil. Nonetheless, when was the last time one of them started a war or a genocide? I suppose that's because they've been oppressed and not had many leadership opportunities throughout history, but once they get a chance they'll start wars and genocides just as well as men. I suppose I shouldn't be flippant about this but I'm not really joking. And I could have explained the anti-sexiness thing better if I hadn't been in a rush to respond so she didn't think I was hesitant.
I couldn't go into more detail about what they look like and why because you're not supposed to immediately know, when reading the book, which of them are the villains in the first place, and also because in one case it would spoil a later subplot.
See, I'm not particularly good at being a feminist. But I like female villains a lot. I think that "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull", for all its flaws, has the second best villain of all the movies, and not because of the "sexy" angle but because she has class and cunning and sword-fighting skills and creepy mental powers that are criminally underdeveloped in the film but fleshed out in the novelization. The only better Indiana Jones villain in my opinion is René Belloq, and he's French, so yeah. And yes, I reactivated my Facebook profile for a while but that was just so I could get the picture with me and Debbie and the others, because I knew you would like it. You're welcome.
Just one of the major problems with creationist logic is their unfounded belief that if they point out a fatal flaw in the evidence for evolution, then that evidence will all magically disappear and creationism will take evolution's place with no questions asked. So, for example, they like to point out gaps in the fossil record and conveniently ignore the fact that according to their worldview, there shouldn't even be a fossil record. The more I see it the less patience I have with it and the less respect I have for them.
The Mormon Section
Elder Mason Wells, injured in the Brussels bombing by Daesh, has now reached exponentially more people on his mission than he could have dreamed of.
I, like everyone else, am grateful that the missionaries survived the Brussels bombing by Daesh. I am grateful that the Church monitors their condition and reports it to the world to show that it cares about its missionaries. And I have shared some articles about them that the mainstream news picked up because everyone loves this story. But I hope everyone remembers that they are no more important than any of the other victims, living or dead or deprived. If you're going to pray for them then I think you should pray for all the victims.
The Russian Orthodox Church makes a big deal about Easter, and I wish that Russians had been among the converts immigrating to Utah in the nineteenth century so that we - referring both to Mormons and Americans in general - would too. If we treated Easter the way we treat Christmas, there would have been all kinds of decorations and carols and excitement leading up to this day. I didn't even know Easter was this weekend until last week, and while that is my own responsibility to keep track of, I never could have similarly forgotten about Christmas. Easter feels like almost an afterthought around here, and that's a shame. I suppose it's because we don't get as many or as big presents.
Rebecca St. James - Hope's Song
I was going to showcase "The Escapist" by Nightwish, which I've listened to about seventy times this week, but then I thought Why don't I share an Easter song so as to become part of the solution rather than part of the problem? This is my favorite Easter song ever - not that there are a lot to choose from, but still.
There will be no cartoon section this week because this post is too long already.
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C. Randall Nicholson
This is where I occasionally rant about life, the universe, and/or everything. I'm a white cisgender male and a Latter-day Saint, so you can hate me without guilt, but I'm also autistic, so you can't. Unless you're an anti-vaxxer, in which case the feeling is mutual.