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Oh Shit I Just Realized…

26 Feb

When we first got married, my wife and I decided to get a dog. Two years later, we decided that the dog needed a dog friend. Then five years later, we decided to have a baby. This progression of decision-making has all but ensured that our son will have two separate, horrifying traumatic losses before he is 8 years old. Nice going dad, you dick.

Our baby will be born sometime in May 2012. Rambo and Lucky, two soft, cuddly, furry animals will afford him hours of play, wet sloppy kisses, falling asleep together on the floor, and warm his innocent little heart, only to get old, smelly, and drop dead at the height of his relationship with them, leading to nightmares, sob attacks, and early onset of depression, or at least a premature existential stoicism usually reserved for marine veterans and that little boy from the Walking Dead.

"He did the right thing, shooting her like that. I would have done that too."

In order to avoid this situation, I suspect my best course of action will be to keep the animals in the house just long enough for him to learn the word “doggy” and then swiftly dispatch them, painlessly, before he can possibly develop any attachment to them.

Alternatively, I can attempt to educate him on the “circle of Life” with hours of repetitive, equally traumatizing viewings of The Lion King, The Neverending Story, and Old Yeller. My god, which is worse?

"ARTAAAAAX NOOOOOOOOOO!!!"

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The Never-Ending Facebook Poking War

17 Feb

I’m in a never-ending Facebook virtual “poking” war with my wife. I don’t know when the hostilities started, and there is no foreseeable end. I  have no exit strategy. Who has the advantage right now is anyone’s guess. All I know is that the more I poke, the more I am poked in turn. And I often ask my self why – Why this senseless violence?

Like actual war, the poking war is of course futile, and hopelessly cyclical.  The war is however a war of affection, in which each poke is a statement saying, “I am flirting with you”. Since she is my wife, and our marriage is based on some reciprocity, I naturally feel the inclination to return this thoughtful gesture. Still, I am unsure to what degree my return poke is from genuine flirtiness, or rather simply an OCD urge to restore order to my disorderly cyber-universe, like a suspended 4th itching for the resolution to the tonic chord (that’s fancy music-talk);  Or rather still, is it just a desire to politely resolve the uncomfortable imbalance inherent in a yet unreturned whimsical declaration of  endearment? After all, not to do so would be like dropping the paddle and walking away from a ping-pong table, a dick move. With respect to my marriage, I find that minimizing the frequency of dick moves is always the best, and most enjoyable route.

Such is the plight of a socially networked human being.

In some way, the same basic principle in the dilemma of the poking war can be found at work in the sad world of the friend request.  Many of us have a growing queue of unanswered friend requests. Even in this vast world of internet life, where such connections are just as often  professional as personal, I still feel the need to be selective in responding to these.  In the logical part of my brain, I know that the person’s emotional investment in the extension of their virtual hand in friendship was impelled by little more than the habitual, glazed-over clicking of the +1 Add Friend button, which appeared to them only as the result of an automatic suggestion, generated coldly and indifferently based on our mutual network, by the minute algorithmic calculations from the faceless, Facebook server. Or SkyNet, I haven’t quite decided.+

In the human part of my brain however, the one innately programmed to empathize, to help old ladies cross the street, and return a majority of high-fives, I naively imagine that little avatar face, floating in virtual space, smiling, waiting hopefully at the computer for my response. “Please,” they say, “Don’t you <like> me? Are we not <friends>? Have you forgotten about our <4 mutual friends>?…our <8 mutual friends>?…even our <16 mutual friends>?

The desire to reciprocate. The uneasy feeling of neglecting a friendship. The fact that those tendencies cultivated over millenia of evolution already find expressions of themselves in this sterile, 2D format – is amazing and fucking terrifying. How else will humans evolve to adapt to our increasingly mediated existence? Maybe we are all..just got poked again BRB…

Nice Kitty. Good Kitty. Stay.

8 Feb

The Story: Mountain Lion Attacks Boy at Big Bend National Park in Texas

the Gist: “…the young boy was walking near the park’s lodge with three other people Sunday evening when he was attacked by a “young lion in very poor condition.” The boy’s name wasn’t released. Elkowitz says the animal that attacked the boy will be killed if found.”

I might be way off here, but how backward is this?  A national park has been designated in the wilderness in an effort to preserve nature in that spot. We do this because we humans find some value in maintaining the natural order of certain areas of our continent, unadulterated by industry, pavement, cars and other artifacts of our existence. The point is to preserve the beauty and purity of those ecosystems.

THEN, a 6-year-old human boy is walking through this nature preserve, with I’m sure numerous warning signs about the presence of mountain lions in the area, inadequately protected by adults, and encounters an animal which does what it is NATURALLY supposed to do, that is, find the weakest, easiest target to pursue as prey. The boy is attacked. He survives with minor injuries.  The boy was “treated for puncture wounds and scratches”

SO what do the park authorities do?  They seek out the animal in order to kill it.

Wait, really? We are talking about predatory cats in their natural habitat. Hello mountain lion, congratulations..All this is yours! You are free to roam. Just make sure to stay close enough for the cameras, but not TOO close. There are children and we expect you to “behave”. But that shouldn’t be a problem since, as we’re sure you’re well aware, we saved this 800,000 acres for you. Deal? Great. Cause If you so much as frighten a 6-year-old, we will treat you with the same mentality with which we hunt down serial killers, cause let’s face it, these people paid for a campsite, capiche?

Let’s face the obvious: If humans cared at all about preserving nature  (as defined by that which is not human) we wouldn’t hold nature responsible for the effect that its innate tendencies have on humans. We would not expect animals to conduct themselves within the “thou shall not kill” framework. But that is not the point of course. The point of these parks is to generate tourism and ultimately revenue for the state that is lucky enough to have inhabited a place with as much natural beauty as the Rio Grande.

This animal is not mentally or emotionally diseased, it’s a goddamn COUGAR!! Pretty but dangerous.

If you bought a dozen roses advertised as “no-prick thorns” for Valentines Day , took them home, and  drew blood because you grabbed them by the stems, would you A) return to the florist and demand that he  destroy the flowers, B) Demand reimbursement from the bullshit peddling florist, or C) beat yourself for an hour with a plumber’s wrench for allowing yourself to believe you had bought roses that wouldn’t cut you? The answer is B and C in that order.

If anyone should be hunted down and killed here, it’s the Ranger, for creating a false sense of security.

How to make reality just a little less “reality-y”

7 Feb

Technology is finally catching up to 80’s movie cyborgs. That may sound cool to you, but as you will learn about me, I am only half-joking about the inevitability of an impending cyber apocalypse/robot takeover. Google has further mediated human beings by developing HUD (head -up displays) glasses that will eventually allow the user to map his or her surroundings with a computer display on the inside of the lenses.  Read about it here

remember this?

Terminator Vision

And this?

Robocop Vision

We as a society have decided that the human eye is just so pre-millenium, just doesn’t provide enough information , and that we now need to wear the internet on our faces in order to interpret objects directly in front of said faces.

I can’t tell you how excited I am to get to the point where not only do I have to  decide if the guy over there having a conversation with himself is insane, talking to me, or on his bluetooth, but also have to walk down the aisle of the supermarket and dodge 100 Robocops using GPS navigation to find the location of the canned peas.

I already feel somewhat disconnected from reality communicating this sentence to a vast, anonymous internet world,  it’s amazing to me just how much farther we can still go to finally sever our consciousness completely from the physical, natural world while existing within it.