Notes 4/3

This is an update to Art of the Force, specifically about the entitled behaviour I called out.

I understand a blogger’s desire for activity in the comments section. I say again, the subscriber I wrote about should have asked me for a comment. Instead he attempted to coerce me with name calling. It’s hard for even me to ask for comments (and you know how I love to bother people). It is slightly less pleasant than asking a stranger for bone marrow.

And now I will explain why I don’t like to comment on other people’s blogs. I will say why I’ve abandoned comments midway. Or chickened out at the last minute.

I write fiction, but when it comes to accusing people of things, I use the evidence. So, I spent Friday night and Saturday afternoon testing the following assumptions: (a) Bloggers want me to comment on their posts. (b) Bloggers acknowledge my comments. I tested these assumptions with posts tagged art, beauty, life, love, poetry, romance and women. All had been published within thirty minutes of the start of the exercise; so only freshly published posts were included. Excluded from my assumption were posts published by subscribers to this blog.

Here is what happened. All 40 of my comments went to moderation immediately, as expected. I received only ten responses within half hour (including “x liked your comment”). After that, three more came in after two hours passed. Forty eight hours later, I am still waiting for 27 further acknowledgements.

One beauty blogger specifically asked for questions so she could do a later blog answering those questions. I wrote three questions for a total of eight from other readers. She liked my comment and that satisfies the assumption. I hope her post went well. Of the 40, two bloggers received compliments about their sense of humour; only one acknowledged and responded. Both had published within minutes of each other. So, no it was not my attitude.

This is how I felt. I’m never doing that again as it was a horrible experience. I felt that I’d wasted my evening and afternoon. I felt vindicated because I’d proved my point. If I went to a book launch and the writer spoke to me in a “yeah, yeah, this is all about me… buy my book… I’m too busy, yeah” tone of voice? I’ll write all about that on Amazon. I’ll print a copy and send it to the publisher. I’ll make placards and exhibit them in a gallery.

My favourite (fictional) publicists, Marcus and Storm, would tell bloggers to add value to their brand by offering some quality interaction around their product. It’s not necessary to use the Queen’s English or talk much. One lyrical gangster uses swear words in reacting to things I say. It’s how he talks and yet, I can tell he is a considerate, seriously well read human being. Informality defines his art. Rock on.

We have control over what happens on our blogs. I have turned off like buttons to encourage read only with comments; I have turned off comments when none was necessary.

There was a time when I wished someone would say something. Now, readers do. I warmly welcome longer comments and take them as a compliment, as affirmation that I’ve written something worth responding to with that much vigour. I’ve even published them as separate posts.

After I’ve used the Force and readers start joining the discussion, should I get super annoyed because they’re, like, writing comments on my bloaaaaag and I can’t with that?

Of course not. That’s ridiculous.

A Chat with Mr Ford (1 of 3)

Storm
I am sorry if you are offended by my remark. I was not using the term “gay” as a slur or in a denigrating way.

Neil
Well, I am not offended by that. The thing is, the kind of woman I want to attract won’t pay attention to a man who is not cool.

Marcus
I see. What kind of woman is that?

Neil
The kind of woman who would be impressed that I took a photo with Tom Ford, but would roll her eyes at one of me with Marc Jacobs.

Storm
Hmmm…

Marcus
What’s the difference?

Neil
Haute couture and high fashion. Exclusivity and accessibility. Marc Jacobs is very down to earth and friendly. Tom Ford is simply unreachable.

Marcus
I see, so you want to meet Tom Ford?

Neil
No, I want to be photographed talking to him. Not posing side by side. It’ll look like I asked him for the shot.

Storm
That’s all? Is there a magazine you wanted the shot for?

Neil
No, well, can I get that?

Storm
Sure. We could arrange a thing or two, but he’s very sweet in person. I’m not sure how …

Neil
It’s the aura he has, of being so aloof. If I’m seen in a photo with an aloof person, the women I want to attract will covet my attention.

Marcus
Why not just ask them out? The women you like.

Neil
Well, I do, but I keep getting turned down. I’m determined to not let my lifetime investment go to waste.

Storm
What kind of investment are you talking about?

Neil
Three hundred thousand dollars. I mean, I have put every cent I earned into this.

Marcus
I’m not trying to talk you out of going for what you want, but don’t you think that you’ll have financial problems if you’re constantly keeping up with this haute couture theme? You’re an attractive man, physically flawless, women must be all over you.

Neil
I can’t give up on this. I’ve spent too much money. I have invested too much time. I’ve endured too much hardship.

Storm
Alright. How about Lulu Belini?

Neil
No. She’s not the type I’m going for.

Marcus
You’re similar in height and body type. She’s Karl’s muse and Tom lusts after her.

Neil
Yeah, but I want someone who is less acquired taste and more seasonal favourite, like a Bar Refaeli. She’s certain not to go out of fashion next season.

Marcus
Bar has gone out of season, as of when she was dumped by Leo. No one is buying her Chinese made panties. This is an age where beauty is all inclusive. It’s not dictated by the norms of the old guard.

Neil
I need this, though. My life plan has this particular condition attached.

Storm
Do you have a specific person in mind?

Neil
Yes, but she is not impressed by …

Marcus
You’re spending a lot of money here, and you’ve already put yourself out, as you said. I just want to know if this will be worth your while. We’re not obliged to be ethical, since I am a publicist, but I just want to point out that you might be chasing a rainbow. There is always a tradeoff with these situations. Especially if you’re after the kind of person you’re after, as you say.

Neil
What trade off?

Marcus
Have you carefully thought through the ramifications of being this choosy?

Neil
What do you mean?

Marcus
You seem irritated. Do I sound judgemental?

Neil
Yes, and it’s annoying.

Storm
I can help you get a photo taken while chatting to Tom Ford, and I can talk to a friend at Bazaar and get that posted on their website. However, you need to wear one of his suits, and his fragrance, and you need to update your professional networking pages. You’ll need to stay in New York and wait for us to call you. It could be a four month wait. We also need some credentials for you. People will be seeking you out when the photo gets published and they need something they can relate to.

Neil
I can do that.

Marcus
I apologise for offending you. Your preference is none of my concern. I would like to make up for the inconvenience to you, by doing this job for free. Our firm is equal opportunity, after all. We do not discriminate on the basis of our clients’ discriminating tastes.

Neil
Thank you. That’s all I ask.

Marcus
If you’re interested, we have a job opening for a stylist and I wonder if you’d like to be interviewed for that? No hard feelings.

Neil
I appreciate it. That’s very kind of you. May I have some lemon water, please?

Storm
Sure.

to be continued

Congolesa

Illustration by Nadia Monsengo, a Netherlands based graphic designer.
Please visit her blog at African Artista. Her work is stunning. Thank you, Nadia.

Nadia Monsengo

Guest post by Nadia Monsengo, a graphic artist living in the Netherlands.

My thoughts on Africa’s Image Problem
Nadia Monsengo
African Artista

A while ago I read a book in Dutch called: Hoe Congolees Zijn De Congolezen? It means, how Congolese Are The Congolese people? A very interesting book. It is basically about how the image and identity of the Congolese people has been lost due to the colonization. I would recommend this book; unfortunately, it is written only in Dutch. Well, for a more general view, we could look at the media of the Western world.

The way they feed on the negativity of Africa is disconcerting. The media only shows negative images of Africa (poor kids living on the streets, diseases, war). They show that Africa depends on them. Mainly through charities. They take advantage of the negativity of Africa and take advantage of the positive light it shines on them for giving generously. In the media there is almost nothing about the kingdoms of Africa. The way they ruled, what kingdoms there were. Basically, not much is written before the history of the colonization of Africa. I find this unfortunate. It looks as if Africans/Africa (except Egypt) did not exist before the colonization. It seems as if the image of Africans depends on the Western World.

Let’s talk about Ancient Egypt. I happen to know that there are many disagreements about the identity of the ancient Egyptians. Many believe that the ancient Egyptians were black and others (the Western World) believe that the ancient Egyptians were white. I do not know how the ancient Egyptians looked like, but I do not believe that they were white (like Europeans). Egypt is in Africa, so the most logical to me is that they had dark skin. Egypt is one of the ancient civilizations that was very developed  in terms of society and many other things.

A very developed country like Egypt could’ve been built by people of colour. And why not? A while ago I saw a documentary on the history of Africa. In this documentary they talked about the great monuments in Zimbabwe (then called Rhode Islands). During exploration of the country, the British refused to believe that the monuments (which were the remains of a great kingdom) were built by black people. They were convinced that these monuments were remnants of an old white civilization, that black people could not have built this. Again, I could not believe the image people then already had of Africans. This negative image of Africa/Africans, the Western World has goes way back.

Films
Why doesn’t the film industry produce more movies about great kingdoms of Africa? Why are there so many slave movies? Movies where black people are poor or slaves don’t contribute to a positive image of Africa. Why do people think that there is always war in Africa? Why do people think that a lot of Africans have HIV? If there is one thing I’ve noticed in the media, is that they ALWAYS use a black person in a commercial for HIV.

A former colleague of mine (she is Cape Verdean) told me once that her little sister always told everyone that she was not African and that Cape Verde was not a part of Africa. Only because of the bad image that people have about Africa. She was so much ashamed that she tried to convince people that Cape Verde was not a part of Africa! I was very much suprised when I heard this. I could not believe this.

I mostly blame the media for the poor image of Africa. Of course there are a lot of Africans that are ignorant and don’t care. I find this unfortunate. But I don’t fully blame them. When you look at Africa’s history, it is understandable how a lot Africans became this way. I once asked my mother if she could tell me something about our history before the colonization. And she did not know. It is very sad.

Art of the Force

I often wondered why people slap at the hand that reaches out in friendship and compassion. Why cordial relationships turn into bitter rivalries. I made it easy for Lim at the Pool to dismiss an abundant source of information that would have prolonged his life. As the reader, you knew the plan was fail safe and rooted for him but still he wouldn’t listen.

People often complain that their prayers aren’t being answered. Why, they ask, does God (or other Deity) not pour out His bountiful blessings?

We are experts at asking. We are not gracious receivers. We say no to the gifts presented to us because we don’t understand the math behind the magic.

I see people receiving exactly what they ask for. They feel hungry and just then someone will offer some bread. They say dismissively, “That’s nice of you but I don’t like Wonder Bread.” Then in the same breath they say, “I’m starving.” Someone’s done this to you before and you felt bad about it.

ヽ(*≧ω≦)ノ

I felt bad yesterday evening. A subscriber asked me if I was reading his posts because I have liked them. Apparently, he was also entitled to comments. Entitlement is passive and gets us nowhere. I wished he had asked me for a comment instead of accusing me and others of defacing his blog with our Gravatars.

There’s an artist on WordPress whose work I greatly admire and covet, but who has told me hates me and everything I stand for. Every time I show appreciation for his new set of paintings, he sends a kind email to thank me. He is professional. He does not accuse me of abusive behaviour. He knows that I respect him because I have said so.

The person from yesterday has subscribed to my blog but does not support me. He has “sometimes” read posts. I read all of his and appreciated his work. I now thank him for his complaint because I removed his blog from one of the lists in my Reader. I will make time for subscribers who appreciate me.

He’s not posting a UN Security Council report or parliamentary transcripts from New Zealand (lunch break hobbies, don’t ask). It’s not a calculus workbook. It’s prose fiction. Nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, conjunctions.

And how up yourself do you have to be to expect me to stop what I’m doing to write detailed critiques. Excuse me, subscribers have actual problems. Like stroke recovery, empty nests, depression, cancer, fibromyalgia, affairs, divorce, bad romances and the loss of loved ones.

Just hours before that disaster, a lovely young woman from Indonesia submitted a comment on S/M. I had read her review of the 50SOG film and wanted her to add a positive appraisal of (the film) to the discussion here. I asked her to please read my post and write a comment. It took two days before she finally agreed, and then I had to persuade her to not worry about the level of analysis in other comments. I value her contrary opinion. I might watch the film now. Her beautiful heart changed my mind.

The process is simple: Ask. (Wait.) Receive. Thank.

A few months ago someone published a photo looking really similar to my rig, which I’d published days earlier. My comment answered the question “What is art?” and explained the similarities in our posts. I was greeted with, “How did you find us because …” I got an eyeful. Did you not just ask a question? What is wrong with you?!!!

We are not gracious receivers and because of that, we punish people who are just trying to be nice.

ヽ(*≧ω≦)ノ

Back to my point…

Wonder bread. Occasionally, a person will take the bread and grind it underfoot. You could say that such a person is ungrateful. I wouldn’t worry about name calling. Instead, think about how many gifts you turned away yourself and try to be extra vigilant next time. Your sworn enemy could be His Ambassador. Your arch rival’s hiccup gave you a two point advantage. Warmly thank the person. You needed the win this time.

One of the reasons I have a strict GOYA policy (I’ll explain on March 30) is this. The genius mathematician upstairs doesn’t care that you want a pastrami sandwich on whole wheat bread with the ends cut off, coconut spread instead of butter, black cheddar thinly sliced, dill pickles and a dollop of sour cream, served by a tall redhead in a tight shirt.

He hears you yelling at the top of your lungs, “Please give me something to eat RIGHT NOW.”

Let’s play a game, Jedi Knights. Pay closer attention next time you use the Force and answer these questions from Björk’s song, All is Full of Love:

  • Are you receiving?
  • Is your phone on the hook?
  • Are your doors all shut?

Blogger wins war against Free Speech

Blogger wins war against free speech
By Demon Barbra Politrix
Last updated: March 24, 2015
3,333,333 Comments

At an awards ceremony in New York last night, WordPress blogger Manco Pride was announced as the winner of the 2015 Bastiat Prize for Online Journalism for his essay: I don’t get it: I hate poetry, art and one subject only blogs and you should unfollow them.

Book burning ceremony in honour of Pride’s achievement.

This is great news. Pride’s complaints about blogs with poetry, art and colourful backgrounds started the debate over whether bloggers should in fact publish whatever they like on their blogs. Manco’s “I don’t get it” campaign essay raised questions about the intelligence of artists, poets, fiction writers, people who don’t speak English, whiney bitches and lonely girls who can’t stop blogging about how much their lives suck.

His essay started the Free Speech Apocalypse. Also, it is fair to say, his work gravely damaged the reputation of WordPress for allowing millions of foreignersartists, poets and free thinkers around the world to form friendships across time zones. The Social Research Unit at the University of Deadbeats was praised for manipulating data in order to exaggerate the extent of bloggers’ whiney behaviour.

Black macarons. Courtesy Guardian UK.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said that “double standards is the name of the international human rights game” and that we all have to suck it up or Manco will get upset. China, Russia, Mongolia, and North Korea are defiant. They have called out the United Nations for allowing art and literature to be destroyed at the whim of a miserable blogging dictator.

Black chocolate and marshmallow cookies. Courtesy Poires au Chocolat.
Bjork eats squid ink pasta. Courtesy pixgood.com viaTumblr.

Artists, poets and writers worldwide were happy to sabotage their careers to make Pride feel like the smartest dude on WordPress.

Oxford University, founded in 872, has announced that it will close after a 1143 year history because Pride doesn’t “get” why academics write essays. Before closing, the university will assist the UK National Archives to white out from historical record, poets such as William Wordsworth. Philosophers and non sports loving aristocrats will also be erased.

Starbucks logo in black and white.

Starbucks wants him to keep buying their coffee, so the company is changing the green mermaid logo to black. The company’s 70 million customers will only be served milk, water, vanilla macarons, black cookies and black sesame paste on a plain piece of white bread.

Image courtesy Harley Vasquez on Google + Elephants march off to warmer climates for winter. They have escaped the global backlash thanks to their grey colour.

Raf Simons, head designer at Christian Dior, said Manco’s revolutionary stand made him a “champion for limited expression and lazy attitudes, both of which make the work of designing so easy because we only need to cut out holes in sheets.” 

White fajita wrap dress from Gareth Pugh.

Vogue Editor in Chief Anna Wintour has said she will never again publish an edition of Vogue without Manco’s approval. The last three editions featured models covered in white sheets. They also had over 200 blank white pages. Wintour approved of Manco’s ignorant behaviour by removing all the words. She has said she desperately wants Manco to like her.

A model wears a creation from Marko Mitanovski.

The Bastiat Prize is a heavy-hitting award by the free-market International Politics Network, given for both print and online journalism. Judges in previous years have included the Nobel Prize Winners James Buchanan, Milton Friedman, and Margaret Thatcher.

Soul mates? iKu2e shows us the math

Guest post by iKu2e. Many thanks to him for allowing me this. This essay is the last in his five part series on soul mates. My comment, when I first read it was:

Thank you for using mathematics to show how full of crap we are. I just had a thought, before reading this post, that the current system of dating is based on pride and lust. If only we knew that the reason we’re going to be miserable in relationships is that we’re trying to reach a statistical goal that’s unattainable.

iKu2e is a thoughtful, feeling man. He’s an engineer and he writes poetry. It is a tough read if you are math averse, but you are smart people so I would like you to please try to get to the bottom of it. For my part, instead of bombarding indifferent others with my feelings, I am going to be kind to the people who truly love me. Embracing them is a sensible plan.

Soul mates – Part V

A mathematical study of how many soul mates you have on this earth
by iKu2e

This is my last post on the Soul Mates Research. I had no idea of soul mates before starting this research and now I am back to the state where I was. I explain why! What is a soul mate? The people around say there is one soul which was created for you. If you are the one thinking the same, stop it!

If you have one soul for you on the earth which is same as like yours, then the 50% of the people on the earth would be the soul mates of the other 50%, which seems to be a funny idea. The total number of people on the earth while I write is 7,300,757,312. Males and females percentage is 50.4% and 49.6% respectively.

None of the religions talk about soul mates, rather they give more importance to the single soul. All of them try to elevate each soul to the next level and give them a better place on the earth. World mythologies, yes they talk a lot about the soul mates as I described in Part II of this series.

Psychologists they just give opinions based on surveys, which is basically the idea of the people. There is no soul which exactly same as you or me, but there might be a 99.99% matching soul. Though this soul is matching yours, it might not help you achieve your purpose.

Out of 7,300,757,312 souls, that is 1.369720916974373e-8 % or 0.00000001369720916974373% is the percentage of people on the earth whom you are looking for. Still do you believe that you can meet that person?

But we can make some calculation to find out the number of soul mates for each soul on the earth. Remember, each soul can have many soul mates, not only one. If you believe in only one soul mate you are with the above percentage of people and don’t move on, you are free to go and search for that 0.00000001369720916974373% of people on the earth which I believe impossible in this lifetime.

There are many hypotheses that can be used to calculate the best match for your soul, but they relate to love. You do not have to be soul mates to be in a romantic relationship. That is the reason why I don’t want to use those hypotheses here. Let us assume that each soul mate shares some preferences / characters common to its soul mate. You want to meet every person for at least 1 seconds to decide if he/she is your soul mate.

In total, you need 7,300,757,312 seconds which is 231.35197997422 years on the earth. Do you think you can live 231 years on the earth?

Check your average age of your country and let’s limit the soul mate calculation within your age limit. Life expectancy of the world population varies from 85 years to 38 years. Considering that you live to the max age of 85 years:

231 years will be split into 231/85 = 2.717647058823529 times where the whole population also can be split into 2.717647058823529 times.

So you will be able to meet only 7,300,757,312/2.717647058823529 = 2686425850 people on the earth in the 85 years of your life.

2686425850 people into seconds into years = 85 Years! The highest life expectancy of the people on the earth! To further filter the people to meet your soul mate, Let us do this way, You can define the number of characters/preferences you expect in your soul mate:

Preferences or p = It might be 1,2,3,4,……n of characters/preferences.

You have p number of characteristics and you expect ‘k’ number of people.

Number of people matching your preferences = k

p = number of preferences, k = number of people who meet your demands

Assuming all the people have the same no of preferences, we have to find out a solution to match the demands to each other and find out the best matches. Using Binary logarithm of mathematics, where we assume the people in 2 dimensional array, we can find out the number of matching soul mates:

n+k*n = n*log2(k*n)

n = 2686425850 , number of people you have to meet in the 85 years of your life.

Solving this equation gives the value of ‘k’ as 35.4716 which can be taken as whole value of 35!

So you have 35 soul mates on the earth which can you meet in 85 years among 2,686,425,850 people.

There are lot of assumptions in the solution! We considered people as two dimensional data because each person has their own preferences and the person who is seeking his/her soul mate has his own set of preferences which has to be compared against each person in the dating pool of 2,686,425,850 persons. So it’s up to you accept it.

iKu2e

Unmarried women

Nowadays, I don’t want to give advice to women friends when they come to me about their troubled relationships. I listen and ask questions. I ask them to answer their own questions. I do this because I don’t trust them.

In the middle of dinner, the phone rings. Everything they’ve said about him ten seconds before is incorrect.

I’m happy now. I can’t stop texting to put this spoonful of risotto in my mouth. He’s just liked my photo on Instagram. Oh, and I have to leave before dessert; he’s coming over to smoke and complain about the draft in my apartment.

They’re going to meet their crappy boyfriends. After a brief reunification ceremony, they tell their crappy boyfriends what I advised them to do. When things devolve again, my phone rings: “Let’s go out for lunch.” They want to cry on my shoulder. So, I say nothing.

Don’t shake your head. You’ve done this to your friends, too.

The post before this one, Forty, presents an actual conversation. Some parts of it were fictionalised. I asked “N” to speak loudly into her iPhone while I was teaching her to use Siri. I sat across the room and transcribed everything we all said. Two days later, she was doing somersaults in the same space, before dyeing her hair green. “He called me to say he loves me.”

Fix it, Jesus.

One woman, who was “over it” wrote on her blog, “Why am I even bothering with relationships at all? He won’t “lock me in” as his girlfriend”. I noticed the disempowering phrasing: “Lock me in” as if relationships were a form of confinement. I guessed that she was happy with her boyfriend, but I wrote to her anyway:

Men can act like shit but it’s only because they know you won’t leave them. He knows you want to be serious and it’s making him feel secure. That’s why he’s being unkind. I see from a recent post you have a boyfriend. I wonder if it’s the same one?

I was not surprised when she reported that it’s the same boyfriend and he is awesome now:

He’s done a complete 180. I told him he needed to modify his behaviour and act like he’s in a relationship or I would be leaving and he would end up a lonely old man.

So, why do women ask for support for their nightmare relationships when they know they’ll reverse themselves as soon as the situation settles?

I can’t deal with y’all.

When was the last time you showed your back to a man you really liked? When he’s spent all of three minutes being there for you, you could say, “Go home, I am going to do something else.” You think he won’t come back, so you endure the small injuries to your dignity.

This attitude is driving women bonkers: “I will be a fakey-fakey nice girl, and tolerate bull or he won’t propose to me”. Acting fake to keep him interested is what self help books advise you to do. But when he finally proposes, you don’t realise he means to live happily with your avatar.

One fakey-fakey friend told me a week after her dream wedding she didn’t like anything about her husband. I realised that she was pretending to be in love the entire relationship. I will never forget the day we sat down over a lunch of lamb brisket and she asked me what next steps to take because she neeeeeds him. I said, get married. They did, five months later.

I feel that a lot of women suffer because it is stressful to keep up a facade. I wonder if a therapist would prescribe medication for women to get through the fakery? But is it medication we need or might it not be compassion for ourselves and for other women? Every time we pretend to be okay with his annoying habits, we nurture another grass fed nincompoop.

A man bragged to me that he’d written a comment on his law professor’s blog, who then used his first name in response. I said, “You’re a grown man. Why are you happy about being patted on the head like a small child? Instead of writing comments on your professor’s blog, consider writing a book of your own.”

Your boyfriend might not want to write a book, but without being rude, show him where he needs to set a high standard for himself as a person. If he doesn’t make the effort and you don’t like what is in front of you, let go.

Photo credit: Figurines and happy young couple in a field, via Pixabay.

Forty

Jupiter
Make sure to hold down the home button.

N
Why are you ugly, green pepper faced fifty seven year old woman, hanging on this beautiful man?! What is special about you?! Disappear, and be gone!

Siri
That service is not available.

N
You have no attractive point!!!

Jupiter
Is this a new photo?

N
Yes. You can’t be photographed from the front …

Jupiter
Make sure to take a screen shot. Activate Siri first, and then talk to the photo, pay attention to the wave. When it stops, tap the mike icon again.

N
Okay, got it. You can’t be photographed from the front, you can only do a side by profile! You so ugly, I can’t stand your fat pig face!!! Why did you tell him you need five more years to divorce your husband? You’re married, and you have children and grandchildren. How can ugly woman like you get married to someone in the first place? Why can you force control unmarried man?!

Siri
There are no search results for Marie Dorothy.

N
Why is he loyal to you? You are bread faced girl. You are slice bread. If you stand in front of some grapes, someone mistake you for dried up onion.

Siri
I searched Wikipedia and this is what I found.

N
I cannot lose my mind to this slice of mackerel. This is not right!

Siri
Mackerel slices were found in these locations in Hell’s Kitchen.

Jupiter
How do you feel? You want to go some more?

N
I’m tired. I’m busy. I want to stop this and enjoy my life. I want to just forget the two of them. They disgust me. That doctor is dirty. His aura just makes my apartment dirty. You stinky old pervert! Shut up dammit. You know, he has no fashion sense. And that blonde hard wax hairstyle is crazy. He runs a hospital but needs to take drugs to wake up, stay up, go sleep, get up, get down. What the hell is he thinking dressing like circus?

Jupiter
What are you going to do about him?

N
I’m going to use him for money. He’s useless. Did you see this eighty dollar Pandora bracelet he bought for me? He never buys me anything cost over one hundred dollars. I’m forty years old. What is he thinking I am going to do with that?

Jupiter
Did you let him know you were worth more than that?

N
He’s just useless that way. And obviously, I am not going to tell J about him. J is for love. The doctor is for money. Only. But do you know what irritates me? J is such an amazing man. He’s talented in business, has a flawless aesthetic sense. He’s a model at sixty for goodness sake.

Jupiter
Okay. Just go with the music and let that out.

N
This is J’s island near Bali. He’s got river rafts and thirty staff. How does that man make himself so small for that pancake faced ghoul?!

Jupiter
Have you considered that he might just be a model, a stock figure with no real power in the relationship?

N
Yeah, I mean, no, it’s his business.

Jupiter
So why is it that he cannot simply cut ties with his business partner and as her lover?

N
And then there’s the … I can’t really understand him. It seems meaningless that she can say to him, “Don’t talk to her and block her phone number,” and he will just do as she asked. She controls him financially.

Jupiter
Perhaps there is another explanation that you haven’t thought of.

N
I think so, and I need to find it or else these feelings will not go away. He’s the first man I told “I love you”.

Jupiter
Not even your ex husband?

N
Not even him.

Jupiter
Alright. Do you want to shout some more?

N
No, I’m tired. I’m going to be friends with him. I don’t love him anymore. I don’t give a damn.

Plato’s Groove on S/M

Guest post by Plato’s Groove: Learning to tell the truth of and to one’s own soul. I thank PG very much for allowing me to post his comment on S/M (a critique of the Fifty Shades of Grey film) as a standalone post. I spliced two verses from his poem AWAKE throughout the reflection. Please visit his blog to hear it read. When men are able to listen to us women speak about what we need and want for ourselves without being defensive, there is light in the world. Be well, SB.

My thoughts on the dynamic interplay between power and the people
by Plato’s Groove

I’m not a prude but the plot of the thing [the film, Fifty Shades of Grey] seems a bit twisted. I’ve heard women say when the first one was out that you needed and man or a dildo close by when you read it. I did not have either.

I did not at first understand the attraction of a rich little boy so scared that needed to totally control a woman to feel safe. I understood the fear in the guy but not how it could be so seductive to women. But then I see the themes played out every week working with addicts and domestic violence. I deal with scared little boys and the women who are so needy and fearful that they surrender their bodies and souls even their own children to the power of the dominant one.

Distraction provides just temporary satisfaction.
But your heart knows the Truth. Your heart knows the Truth.
Awake from the incantation, seek the Incarnation.
The Light shines in the darkness.
Let It shine on you.

The thing that goes unspoken many times is that there is power and a sense of security in the submission. The submissive ones are benefiting from the arrangement in some way or they would not stay. They are trying to save him but not out of love. It is the desire to save him so that she can finally be loved. But she gets to play the victim role at times and culture may not hold her accountable. Their is always a yin and yang. If he is insecure and and fearful she is too. If he has a need to control so does she and it is just as devious. The patterns match or there would be no fit.

This whole thing seems to glamorize that pattern by glossing it over with lots of orgasms. The meth heads I work with have lots of hot sex too. And they talk about it a lot. Hearing women talk about this very private thing in public is akin to that to me. Not in a judgmental way: Their preferences are not my business. But my emotional reaction was the same. I am a little embarrassed for them. My impulse is to cover the nakedness they don’t realize is apparent.

I think hot sex, like Tony the Tiger says, is “Grrrrreat!” I understand that sexual preferences and patterns can be healing and redemptive as people learn to be who they are. I have no problem or business in that place between what happens there. But this is a cultural current running through our collective consciousness. What have been the results of this latest craze besides boosting dildo and bondage equipment sales? Are people more confident and fulfilled? Are women more empowered? Where are the feminist in this discussion? Are men more confident? Or has the culture been nudged just a bit toward that which will not set them free.

Caesar has no love for you, you’re a number on a page.
Doctrine is a guide, but its just trappings on the stage.
Life is calling you to wake up (now).
Shake off the webs they weave.
Step into Reality, become more than you (can) conceive.

There is a sense of freedom is the drug addict too. For a while they exist in a place where practicing their addiction feels like freedom and being who they are. It is an exhilarating ride till they end up getting pimped out and in bondage to that which can not set them free. There is always intention behind anything that happens in the media. There are powers which benefit from the bondage of the masses.

This story (50 Shades of Grey) seems to be a perfect metaphor of the dynamic interplay between power and the people. It was just another whisper suggesting “Go back to sleep. It’s OK. This is how it should be. Don’t it feel good? We will take care of you as long as you are our slaves.”

S/M

Bad chemistry. Courtesy Img Buddy.

I’ve read one too many negative reviews of the 50SOG book and film to not weigh in. I am enjoying the backlash against this jaundiced mass marketed bullocks. I got to chapter six and I did not like it. But this is not a book review. It is social commentary. I’m nervous when certain themes become part of the normal social discourse.

I think women jump through enough hoops to please men and encourage them to stay interested. Why does a relationship need homework and chores? Gaaawd. I already have a job.

One person told me, before we’d even held hands, that “we need to spice things up in the bedroom.” I said to him, laughing, we haven’t kissed, what are you talking about? His brilliant ideas included pulling my hair in the shower. I’m busy in the shower. There’s the moringa scented shower gel, then the Lush soap bar that smells like bubblegum, and of course I have to try the rose scented one and finally, the chocolate sugar scrub. I only allow hair stylists to pull my hair when they’re flat ironing it, and they’re gentlemen and tall and cute.

After I’d tied up and queued this post, I read this statement from Twin Flames Revolt:

In defence of Fifty Shades, the people who enter into passionless and boring relationships just for MONEY and LUST while bypassing LOVE: These people will end up flogging each other. Love is never so boring that someone may need sex toys or games of the brutal type to flavour up things. It has its own electricity, it’s own fire. So, nice to know, stupidity is a self-flogging mechanism.

A few days after reading the statement from Twin Flames Revolt, I read an essay about submission in marriage. I find it scary that Christian women may have already been caught up in this. Is there no escaping the tyrannical rule of men with low self esteem? It is no wonder we need to have a Human Rights Act, because some church leaders are using The Bible to suborn the will of their congregations. This is an excerpt…

Our husbands are all sinners, just like us, and to be ruled over by a sinner is not a pleasant way to live. However, when we submit to our husband we are showing him Christ through our actions and bringing him closer to God … Submission is a way for a wife to honor God’s commandments and show respect for her husband so that he will be induced to love her and Christ more.

She said it herself, that “to be ruled over by a sinner is not a pleasant way to live.” These are the words of an oppressed person. Christ was a champion for freedom, humaneness and liberation from oppressive overlords. That’s why he was crucified. How do we not get this after reading the New Testament? Women like these do not understand why women in Saudi cannot drive their own cars. You are not free, so why are you campaigning for the liberation of others? First, educate yourself about your rights and work towards living a life of quality. Be that light that shines before men.

Can’t we just love each other without the ropes and pulleys? I understand the argument that submission is giving unconditional respect to your husband, but what if he doesn’t pay the mortgage? What if he decides that your child’s terminal illness can be cured with warm vegetable soup? I cannot imagine why two human beings can’t just negotiate their way through the day. People who respect each other can do that.

OPI has drunk the KoolAid. I went with Estee Lauder. I like my hands free, thank you.

Submissive Christian women, in my opinion, have already told themselves that being abused is alright. As for the rest of us? One woman, Vanity Entity, is clear that she’s not being coerced.

I am a submissive woman. I find pleasure, joy, and fulfillment from being submissive to another in a loving relationship. I am not weak, or stupid. I am a strong woman… I do not serve out of shame or weakness, but out of pride and strength. I look to my loving Master for guidance and protection…

Michael Kirby, Jr (obviously an alias) thirstily lapped it up:

I am overly excited about this progression! Free of self imprisonent due to society’s fear of self expression. Women lack the art of submission in this era of life! They frown upon the act because many men, in return, lack the worthiness! Please educate while fulfilling your innermost desires, as well as mine!! I’m excited about your future!
-Kirby

I am not going to argue with a woman saying she wants to be chained up and whipped but Kirby, her admirer, now wants the rest of us to join in. And this brings me to my point about 50SOG. I think men like Kirby who want a non prosecutable excuse to hit a woman or draw blood will use 50SOG, the sadomasochism theme and the implied mainstream mandate for coolness and bedroom spice to do it.

Men like Kirby will tell you spanking is necessary for them to commit. They’re too lazy to ask you what you want and too entitled to offer it to you. They’ll get away with this because a lot of women will do anything to win a boyfriend.

You know the disappointment you feel? When you just meet a guy and you think he’s decent, then out of the blue, he has a laundry list of arguments as to why you should degrade yourself for his (viewing) pleasure. He will not have a ready excuse when he declines to return your calls.

It’s tricky when you’re already attached to him and you’re all morning chats and in each other’s business. One clever dude thought he’d send me photos of himself in his briefs so I would send him nude photos of myself. He’d taken his brief pix in the bathroom mirror as an enticement. Fifty shades of gross.

Please be aware that he felt exposed, nervous, insecure about his body and scared after he sent them. Then he spent the rest of the day sending texts begging for compliments. Hmmm…

It was mid winter. I was in bed with a high fever and on prescription cold meds. Did my illness and his apprehensiveness stop him from demanding to see photos of my bottom? Of course, no means no. So he stopped talking to me because according to him, I came down with a cold so I could avoid sending him bottom pix. Good riddance. When I called his bluff and didn’t chase him, he called back to find that his number was already blocked. Hot mess.

US Border Security. Courtesty Wikipedia.

Know your boundaries and protect them like border security. If he gets upset and freezes you out, ignore him. Rejoice. You already have things to occupy your time. If you have no hobbies, ask me for suggestions.

Here’s advice I received from a man who was into me, years ago, before Twitter, Google + and Instagram: “If you like the man, tell him. If he’s not paying you any attention, leave him alone.” For the social media age, I’ll add that if he has too many conditions for giving you his undivided attention, just stop talking to him. Because…

HE DOESN’T LIKE YOU.

You need to make a decision. Do you want that guy to like you so much you will agree to be yanked, squeezed, disrespected, called names and passed around like Graham’s Crackers? I enjoy the aesthetic mystique of S&M but I tell myself that when a guy comes along, it’s better to be S/M: Savvy and mysterious; serious and mature. If, among other things, he happens to be a neck squeezing, hair pulling dirtbag, he’ll find me unattractive and stay away.

Envy™ The Food Drink of Glampions

Matcha Green Tea Latte For Two
Image: Green tea latte via Green Tea Guide

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Envy is the tax which all distinction must pay.” He’s probably never met a Glampion. A Glampion’s envy is the heavy tax which innocent bystanders are forced to pay. When someone picks on you, they might be living out a fantasy life inspired by someone famous, real or imagined.

Is it reasonable to say that these people have a twisted opinion of themselves? I think we each have different measures for our self concept. However, it is important to maintain a balanced perspective.

The theme of this post is “envy”. It could have been insecurity or defensiveness because often these three form a triad. Envy happens when others can’t be happy with what you have. Insecurity is most likely the trigger. Defensiveness is the easiest remedy: We measure our this with their that.

Power envy happens when Glampions secretly wish they could be as influential as [name a celebrity]. Their desires thwarted, they turn on someone they believe to be weaker than they are. People of this mindset either lack the capacity to face up to their own inadequacies or they don’t have the self confidence to thrive in the presence of others who are doing well. Many of the people we envy struggle in some way and would be fortunate to be in our shoes.


Why be so nasty and so rude, when I can be so fierce, so fabulous and so successful.
Nene Leakes, Sunday March 15, 2015, via her Twitter account.

Sometimes I really want to sock it to people who get it twisted. In doing so, I am mindful that there’s a difference between being fierce and being rude.

We can thrive in a world of talented, shining stars. It is hard to remember that because mediocre people dominate our news feeds. I believe we should set high standards for ourselves. Sometimes we will be discouraged. I think we should do as much as we can, and drop that when we want to try something else.

We work hard to become champions raised up by substantial wins. Sometimes, however, we might get distracted by two-dimensional tokens of achievement. This is where a balanced perspective plays a role. It allows us to measure the weight of our trophies before using them to browbeat others. When we do that, it is hard for Glampions to crush our spirits with their own paper-thin trophies.

For the benefit of others who lack perspective: Shine your own light. They don’t need to comprehend your brilliance for you to be a star in your own right. If you burn brightly enough, the blind may never see you, but your rays might penetrate through the skin.

Note: Updated November 22, 2016 @ 08.04. This post was originally published on March 17, 2015.

End of Installation

Thank you all so much for your kind attention and support. This post marks the end of the fiction as art as fiction installation, Earth, Mars and Her Dark Arts. I’ve prepared an afterword as a standalone page. Please read Aftermath if you can make the time and I’d be very happy to have your comments.

All posts that flow between this and the marker posts, excluding non fiction asides, are part of this installation. Thank you for your warm support.

When I started putting this together in early December, 2014, I was thrilled and scared at the same time. Would anyone read it, much less stay around for three months? As I’ve said in Aftermath, your attention was the light obliterating the gloom on a dark world. Thank you so much.

The risk of putting myself out there and banking on your trust was worth it thanks to your repeat visits, your courage, your patience, your kind words of encouragement, your belief, questions, comments and gestures of appreciation. All have meant a great deal.

See you all, again, soonest. The stampede starts up again in a day or so; not to be missed.

Love and caramel hugs,
SB

End of Section Three

This post marks the end of section three. Thanks to all of you, the Martians are happily making their way home.

I am grateful for your enthusiastic support in this section. Your engagement with the story was moving. I added an Easter Egg because it’s the season and every adventure story needs a sort of romantic ending, doesn’t it? Thank you for reading.

Warm regards and cinnamon love,
font

Reunited

[ Translation ]

Ki
Father. You found me.

Xhi
Ki, I am overjoyed at our reunion. I do not want you to feel reprimanded. So many precious moments between father and son were lost because I could not look beyond my grief. It is I who will say that I am so sorry. I have you and you are everything. I have been too severe in the past and it pulled us apart. I could not see that you needed me above all. When I lost your mother, I felt only anguish. I went far away to escape. I was wrong. I will never leave you alone, ever again. Consider this my reprimand: We will work and play as a two man team until you are ready to build your own.

Ni
Ki…

Xhi
My son is no longer in your care, but you may say a few words to him if you’re mindful not to upset him.

Ni
Thank you.

Ki
Ni. I am glad to see you again.

Ni
You need only feel safe here. I did not look after you with due care.

Ki
You did. I was very capable at deceiving you.

Ni
I do not understand.

Ki
Blue Star children deceive their parents to have freedom.

Ni
Do you feel you are not free here with us.

Ki
I missed my father. I wanted to see my friend. She was nice.

Ni
Precious child.

Ki
I am sorry…

Xhi
Thank you, Ni. That will be all. Ki, Scout Team Alpha repaired your escape commode and handed it to the tracking specialist. The communication systems were in disrepair the entire journey, so in all, we have no recorded data to analyse. That means for your recovery, you will verbally recall your time alone, in as much detail as is comfortable for you. I will be present at every recall. Your recollection specialist has said your involuntary solitary confinement can help us understand the impact of long term isolation on long term psychological wellness. It will be a lifelong study. But we will do this only if you agree. You are the youngest person in our history to have attempted or accomplished this feat.

Ki
I understand, father. I will consider it when I feel better.

Xhi
Also, there is another who will share with us.

Vi
Greetings, Ki. Biometric scans indicate that you are recovering normally from exposure to Blue Star’s atmosphere. Your blood and tissues will be completely purged of toxins in three chelation passes. Please wait five cycles for complete regeneration of tissue in your tibia and ulna. Physical rehabilitation …

Ki
Mother!

Vi
I am artificial intelligence software code template Ki 4 Xhi 04, designed by your biological mother, Vi. Your father completed my construction himself, from her journals and work logs. You may call me …

Ki
Mother, mother, mother!!!

Vi
Primary user voiceprint activation complete. Activation key, “Mother.”

Xhi
I see you are pleased. Mother worked with your cousins and your AI to help us find you, and so did many, many inhabitants of Blue Star. Look at the data they generated while doing the search.

Ki
Is that for me. They were all looking for me.

Xhi
Yes, they all were. Their methods were amusing and bizarre, but effective. I understand why you studied them. Many things, however, do not translate. Perhaps you would like to engage in further research. Impart knowledge of their culture to our people.

Ki
Father, how can I thank you. This is tremendous. Father, you are precious.

Xhi
Promise me, we will disclose our closely held thoughts to each other in an atmosphere of caring and mutual consideration. Every cycle at mid cycle, after Warcraft tutorials. Face to face.

Ki
Yes, father. We will.

(◕‿◕✿)  (●⌒∇⌒●)  。◕‿◕。